Legal fund launched for Julian Assange

Julian Assange is said to have restrictions on his communication in London's Ecuadorian embassy.
Julian Assange is said to have restrictions on his communication in London's Ecuadorian embassy.

A legal defence fund is being launched for Julian Assange amid fears the WikiLeaks founder is under threat of being expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Courage Foundation, which offers legal support for whistleblowers and journalists, says Assange has become "isolated" inside the embassy, with "severe restrictions" on his communications and visitors.

The organisation said his expulsion from the embassy may be imminent, putting him at risk of extradition to the US.

"The US government has pursued a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks since 2010, with major politicians and public figures calling for Assange's arrest or execution," the Courage Foundation said in a statement on Thursday.

"It has recently been confirmed that the US government has already charged Assange in a sealed indictment and seeks his arrest and extradition."

The organisation said these developments had prompted it to launch the defence fund for Assange.

"Prosecuting Assange for publishing constitutes a major attack on press freedoms at large, and his transatlantic legal defence will require contributions from supporters around the world," it said.

The Courage Foundation said the US government would use all its resources to force Assange's extradition from the UK and take him into custody.

Assange has been living inside the embassy for more than six years.

Australian Associated Press