WikiLeaks claims banking blockade court victory

WikiLeaks claims banking blockade court victory

An Icelandic court has ordered local card acquiring outfit Valitor to reopen a gateway to WikiLeaks, giving the whistleblowing Web site its first victory against the banking blockade that has choked off its money supply for over a year.

In October the WikiLeaks Web site officially suspended publication to concentrate on fighting the 'financial blockade' imposed by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others. The outfit has since been working on various legal plans to break the stalemate that it claims has cut off 95% of donations, costing it more than $20 million.

In a statement, WikiLeaks says that in one of the cases, against Valitor (formerly Visa Iceland), Reykjavík District Court has now ruled the company had violated contract laws by blocking credit card donations.

The case involved WikiLeaks' Icelandic credit card processing partner DataCell, which inked a deal to process donations with Valitor last June. The gateway was tested, certified and opened by Valito but then promptly closed "without any plausible explanation," says WikiLeaks.

Valitor has now been ordered to reopen the gateway within 14 days or face daily fines of IKr800,000. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks says it is pursuing several similar actions against others and that the European Commission could decide as early as August to go after financial services firms involved.

Julian Assange, founder, WikiLeaks, says: "This is a significant victory against Washington's attempt to silence WikiLeaks. We will not be silenced. Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. When it's done outside of the rule of law its doubly wrong. One by one those involved in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side of history."

Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking asylum as he bids to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning about sexual molestation and rape allegations.

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