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I receive death threats from US soldiers: Assange

world Updated: Dec 21, 2010 01:02 IST

IANS
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed that he receives death threats from US soldiers regularly, a media report said on Monday.

He also said that a statement on the steps of the high court here last week after he was released on bail was cut short because police feared he would be assassinated, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Australian-born Assange, 39, claimed his son Daniel, 20, and his lawyer have received similar chilling warnings.

Speaking to a Spanish newspaper after being released on 275,000 pounds bail, he said: "I receive death threats all the time. My lawyer receives them, my son receives them.

"Most of them seem to come from members of the United States armed forces."

Daniel, who works for a software design company, is believed to be in hiding in Australia.

The WikiLeaks founder gave the interview to Spain's El Pais newspaper from a 10-bedroom Norfolk mansion in England where he is awaiting extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.

He said: "It’s marvellous to have left solitary confinement. I feel very determined.

"I have seen that we received support on a global scale, especially in South America and Australia, and it seems as if everybody everywhere is supporting us."

Assange disclosed that police were worried he would be assassinated when he left the high court after being granted bail last Thursday.

As a result he only spoke for a few minutes. He said: "I could have stayed there talking for an hour, but the police were worried because I could have been assassinated - or something like that."

Assange claimed he had been held in London's Wandsworth Prison on a wing housing "people who have been convicted of sexual offences, child killers".

He strenuously denied the allegations being made against him by two women in Sweden and claimed he is the victim of a smear campaign.

Assange was speaking after US Vice President Joe Biden said he was a dangerous "hi-tech terrorist", adding officials were looking at ways to prosecute him.

Asked whether he thought Assange was a hi-tech terrorist or a whistleblower, Biden said: "I would argue that it's closer to being hi-tech terrorist."

Assange has enraged Washington by obtaining a cache of some 250,000 US diplomatic cables and slowly releasing the documents through his whistleblowing website, often causing huge embarrassment in world capitals.