WikiLeaks claims victory in Iceland court case

WikiLeaks claims victory in Iceland court case over Visa financial blockade

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- WikiLeaks said Wednesday it has secured a victory in Iceland's Supreme Court against the financial blockade imposed by Visa and MasterCard on donations for the secret-spilling site.

Visa and MasterCard were among half a dozen major U.S. financial firms to pull the plug on WikiLeaks following its decision to begin publishing about 250,000 U.S. State Department cables in late 2010.

WikiLeaks has claimed that the financial blockade led to a 95 percent fall in revenue.

It said Wednesday that Iceland's Supreme Court had upheld a district court's decision that MasterCard's local partner, Valitor, had illegally terminated its contract with WikiLeaks' payment processer, DataCell.

The court warned Valitor it would be fined 800,000 Icelandic krona ($6,824) per day if the gateway to WikiLeaks donations is not reopened within 15 days, WikiLeaks said. It added that the court's decision will bolster similar legal actions it is taking elsewhere, such as in Denmark against a Danish subcontractor for Visa.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — who remains holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he is seeking asylum — called the decision a victory for free speech.

"We thank the Icelandic people for showing that they will not be bullied by powerful Washington-backed financial services companies like Visa," he said in a statement. "And we send out a warning to the other companies involved in this blockade: you're next."

Assange is currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct, and he has long complained of funding difficulties.





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