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WikiLeaks: Founder Julian Assange to run for Australian Senate

By Michael Martinez and Pierre Meilhan, CNN
March 18, 2012 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, pictured in October 2011.
Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, pictured in October 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Julian Assange is under house arrest in England
  • But he can run for the Australian Senate, WikiLeaks claims on its Twitter page
  • Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, where he's a suspect in a sex crimes inquiry

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has decided to run for a seat in the Australian Senate, WikiLeaks announced on its Twitter page Saturday.

The group, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, said it discovered it is possible for Assange to run while living in England under house arrest. Assange was born in Australia and grew up there.

Since the summer of 2010, he has become a household name and a pop culture fixture. He's an internationally controversial figure who has cast himself as a champion of free speech by distributing classified documents.

101: WikiLeaks revealed

Assange is also a suspect in a Swedish sex crimes investigation. He's been fighting extradition before Britain's Supreme Court, which is weighing whether he should be sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault lodged by two women in the country.

Assange is living in England under house arrest related to the case and has so far failed to convince magistrates and the court of appeal that a warrant for his arrest is invalid.

Lawyers for Assange have vowed to take the fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. He has repeatedly said he's innocent.

CNN's Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.

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