Assange `based himself at London journalists club`

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange based himself for much of the past few months at a journalists club in London.

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
based himself for much of the past few months at a journalists
club in London, the founder of the club has said.

The 39-year-old Australian was remanded in custody
yesterday in Britain after being refused bail at a London
court over claims of sex crimes in Sweden.

He was widely thought to have been in the British capital
in recent months and that was confirmed by Vaughan Smith,
founder of the Frontline Club in central London.

"He based himself at the Frontline Club for most of the
period," Smith told AFP yesterday, referring to the past few
months but saying he could not give an exact timeframe. Smith
also said he had offered Assange an address for bail.

Assange denies sexually assaulting two women in Sweden
and has said he will fight an extradition request.

His detention came as his website continued to release
tens of thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables, causing
embarrassment for governments worldwide.

Over the past several months, apart from trips abroad,
Assange was staying at the club, Smith said.

Assange was given facilities to carry out his work at the
club, where he also took part in several public debates on his
whistleblower website WikiLeaks and the state of the modern
media, said Smith.

"He came to us," explained the club founder. "Essentially
because we are independent... he felt it would be a reasonably
safe place for him to operate out of.

"It was also somewhere he could access journalists and
speak to them."

Smith said that he had attended Assange`s court
appearance yesterday to offer his support.

"I am suspicious of the personal charges that have been
made against Mr Assange and hope that this will be properly
resolved by the courts," he added in a statement.

Video journalist Smith, 47, set up the Frontline Club
seven years ago in honour of colleagues at the Frontline
Television News agency who died pursuing their work, according
to the club`s website.

It regularly hosts talks by journalists and debates on
the media, as well as documentary and film screenings.

PTI

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