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Who is Julian Assange?

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Julian Paul Assange (born 3 July 1971) is an Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist. He is the founder, spokesperson, and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for worldwide news leaks, with the stated purpose of creating open governments. Assange has worked as a computer programmer and was a hacker during his youth. He has lived in several countries, and has made public appearances in many parts of the world to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative journalism.

Assange founded the WikiLeaks website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board. He has published material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya, toxic waste dumping in Africa, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay procedures, and banks such as Kaupthing and Julius Baer. In 2010, he published classified details about American involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing secret US diplomatic cables. The white House has called Assange's release of the diplomatic cables "reckless and dangerous" while sources in the Kremlin linked to President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that he "could be awarded a Nobel prize."

For his work with WikiLeaks Assange has received glowing praise and accolades, along with public condemnation and calls for his execution. He received a number of awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award for publishing material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya and Readers' Choice for Time magazine's 2010 Person of the Year.

Assange is currently wanted for questioning in Sweden regarding alleged sexual offences, and was arrested in London, England on 7 December 2010. He is currently on bail and under house arrest in England pending an extradition hearing. Assange has denied the allegations and claimed that they are politically motivated.

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