Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:40pm IST

Wikileaks' Assange plans to run for Australian parliament - report

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The founder and leader of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, plans to run for a seat in Australia's upper house of parliament, the anti-secrecy group announced on Twitter on Saturday.

The comments could not be immediately confirmed.

Australian-born Assange, 40, is currently under house arrest in Britain and fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

"We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run," WikiLeaks tweeted on Saturday.

The earliest Senate election would not be until late 2013.

The group also tweeted that it plans to field a candidate to run against Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her home seat of Lalor in Victoria.

The Swedish warrant stems from Assange's encounters in August 2010 with two women who were then WikiLeaks volunteers. They accuse him of sexual assault. He says they consented.

WikiLeaks burst onto the global news agenda in 2010 when it released secret footage and classified U.S. military files and diplomatic cables about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing a furious response from the U.S. government.

(Writing by Morag MacKinnon, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

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