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WikiLeaks Founder Defends Website In Editorial

Julian Assange being taken to prison in London on Dec. 7, 2010.
A day after his arrest in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has defended his website.

In an editorial printed in an Australian newspaper, Assange says democracies require strong media to keep governments honest, and WikiLeaks plays a role in this.

Assange denies the site's publication of classified information has endangered lives. Assange has been refused bail and remains in custody.

He is charged in Sweden with sexual assault but denies the charges.

Claes Borgstrom, who is representing the two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers who accuse Julian Assange of sex crimes, said: "It is a very difficult situation for these two young women. First, they were, in one way or another, molested by Julian Assange, which is frustrating, of course."

He continued, "And after that, they have been suspected, themselves, of conspiracy, that it has something to do with WikiLeaks and CIA etc., which is nonsense."

A Wikileaks spokesman said the arrest was an attack on media freedom and pledged to continue publishing.

compiled from agency reports