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Assange's mum to Sweden: 'lay off my son'

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11:18 CET+01:00
The mother of WikiLeaks head Julian Assange has said that she does not want her son to be "hunted down" after Interpol issued an alert for his arrest at the behest of the Swedish authorities.

The international police agency has issued a global arrest warrant for Assange, one of the founders of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks which has caused a storm around the world by dumping secret messages from US diplomatic missions onto the Internet.

His mother, Christine Assange, said she was "as any mother would be, very distressed" that authorities were looking for her son, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said.

"He's my son and I love him and obviously I don't want him hunted down and jailed," she told the state broadcaster.

"I'm reacting as any mother would -- I'm distressed."

Christine Assange, who lives in Queensland, denied that she had moved away from her home town of Melbourne because of media interest in her son.

"A lot of stuff that's written about me and Julian is untrue," she said.

The ABC said Christine Assange runs a puppet theatre in Noosa.

The Australian government, which has joined government's around the world in condemning WikiLeaks release of confidential diplomatic cables, has confirmed Julian Assange, 39, is an Australian passport holder.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Monday while the United States was leading moves towards legal action against WikiLeaks, Australia would fully support these efforts.

The Interpol alert against Assange, a computer hacker, states he is wanted in Sweden for questioning over the alleged rape and molestation of two women.

Assange has denied the charges.

Assange, who is said to lead a spy-like life of rarely sleeping in the same place twice, spends much of his time in Britain and Sweden.

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