independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s university talk cancelled for ‘technical reasons’

A CONTROVERSIAL talk by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Cambridge University has been cancelled.

Mr Assange was due to speak on a topic yet to be revealed followed by a question-and-answer session at the Cambridge Union Society debating platform next Tuesday.

He had planned to appear over videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he is seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The union's Women's Campaign had launched a petition and was planning to protest outside the society, saying Assange's invitation was "an insult to survivors of rape".

Today, in an email to members, the union's secretary, Suyin Chalmin-Pui, said: "We would like to inform you that Mr Assange has cancelled the Q&A scheduled for November 27 due to technical issues with the videolink equipment."

Women's officer Susy Langsdale had called on the union to retract its invitation to Assange.

She said: "We are delighted that the union has cancelled Julian Assange coming to speak.

"We are, however, particularly amused by their suggestion that the founder of WikiLeaks had to cancel a week in advance for technical reasons.

"We are disappointed that the union has not had the intellectual honesty to admit the real reasons for this disinvitation."

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