Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

(BestGrowthStock) – Here are some facts about Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, who will learn on Thursday whether he will be freed on 200,000 pounds ($317,000) bail in connection with accusations of sex crimes in Sweden.


— Assange was born in Townsville, Australia, in July 1971, to parents who were involved in theater and traveled frequently. Assange’s mother runs a puppet theater.

— In his teens, Assange gained a reputation as a sophisticated computer programer.

— In 1995 he was arrested and pleaded guilty to hacking. He was fined, but avoided prison on condition he did not reoffend.

— In his late 20s, he went to Melbourne University to study mathematics and physics.

— Assange has no permanent home and was often seen carrying a rucksack, moving from city to city and staying with friends in countries from Iceland to Kenya.

— He is described by those he has worked with as highly intelligent, determined, intense and at times paranoid.

— He is known for being highly secretive. It has been reported that he carries several mobile phones and at one point believed he was being followed.

— Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning about allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion and he is fighting attempts to extradite him to Sweden. He has denied any wrongdoing.

— Assange was granted bail on Tuesday by a British court but prosecutors appealed and he remains in a London jail.

— Despite Assange’s legal problems, WikiLeaks continues to drip feed some of the 250,000 cables it has obtained, working with newspapers around the globe to amplify their impact.


— Assange began WikiLeaks in 2006, creating a web-based “dead letter drop” for would-be leakers.

— His website has five full-time staff, several dozen active volunteers and 800 part-time volunteers. Assange has said he has received hundreds of documents and does not have enough resources to go through all of them.

— Assange said he thinks there is still a place for investigative journalism and hoped that WikiLeaks could complement traditional media.

— He said that WikiLeaks has never compromised a source.

— Assange is an avid user of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and is known for his sometimes sharply worded tweets. WikiLeaks’ pages have some 300,000 to 400,000 followers.

Sources: Reuters/WikiLeaks website/BBC

(Reporting by David Cutler in London and Mia Shanley in Stockholm; editing by David Stamp)

Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange