In an interview with the BBC Tuesday, recently-released WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange claimed that people have died because of their affiliation with his his website.
As companies drop their ties to the website responsible for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents, Assange says the site's woes are not limited to financial and legal attacks and claims people associated with his organization have been assassinated:
BBC: Everything you say may be true. I've no way of judging that. But, surely you can see how very, very damaging, at the very least, it is to somebody like you, somebody who has spent a large part of his life saying: "People are accountable. We must have systems that do transparency. We must have systems under which the public knows what's going on and people can be held to account." And here you are facing, possibly facing, very, very serious charges indeed, double rape even, is a possibility - and you are saying: "I will not go back to the country where those offences are alleged to have been carried out to face the music."
Julian Assange: No, I have never said that.
BBC: In that case you can catch the next plane back to Sweden.
JA: No, I do things according to proper process. I stayed in Sweden for five weeks to enable that proper process to occur. Proper process did not occur. I left as part of, you know, just my normal course of activity - no complaints from the Swedish government. I have an organisation to run. I have my people to defend. There are other things at stake here… There are other things at stake here. I have a serious brewing extradition case in relation to the United States. I have a serious organisation to run. People affiliated with our organisation have already been assassinated. My work is serious. I do not have to run off to random states simply because some prosecutor is abusing a process in those states.
Unfortunately, the interviewer did not follow-up and Assange did not provide any further details to support the startling claim (click here for full transcript).
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in London earlier this month on accusations he sexually assaulted two women. He was freed on bail pending a legal fight over extradition to Sweden.
Assange says his time spent in prison was uncomfortable as he was forced to listen to shouting from "crazy pedophiles" and says he lost a tooth when he bit into a piece of metal in his food.
The WikiLeaks founder told reporters Saturday that the US may be preparing to indict him on conspiracy charges. The U.S. Justice Department may be searching for possible ties linking Assange and PFC Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking the classified documents to WikiLeaks. However, Assange claims he has had no direct contact with Manning in the past.
On Saturday, Bank of America joined PayPal, Mastercard and Visa in refusing to handle monetary transactions for WikiLeaks. In addition, computer giant Apple also took steps this week to distance itself from WikiLeaks, removing the organization's app from its iTunes store.