GetUp fighting fund for activist

MORE than 28,000 Australians signed a letter to Barack Obama supporting the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange within hours of GetUp revealing it planned to book full-page advertisements in American newspapers.

''Sarah Palin wants Julian Assange hunted as a terrorist,'' read the email alert from the online activists. It called for Australians to ''stand up for another citizen's rights'', saying their government was not going to do so.

More than $165,000 had been raised by 9pm. GetUp said it would book advertisements in The Washington Times and The New York Times condemning calls for violence against Mr Assange and demanding a fair court hearing if charges directly linked to the leaks are laid.

It accused the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of prejudging WikiLeaks activities as illegal.

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, said yesterday obtaining and distributing information that put national security at risk was likely to be an offence in the US.