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Assange to guest star on Simpsons

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is about to meet his yellow-skinned alter-ego in a cameo appearance on the hit US show, as he enters the final round of his extradition battle

He may be accused of sexual molestation and currently under house arrest, but that hasn't stopped Julian Assange from appearing on one of his favourite TV shows.


Aye carumba: Julian Assange will play himself and be a part of the 500th
episode in which he will be the Simpsons' new neighbour after they run
away from Springfield. File pic


The silver-haired activist, who is still under house arrest in the UK, will play himself in a special airing of the animated series, celebrating the programme's 500th episode.

Assange recorded his lines from a secret location, after show creator Matt Groening heard a rumour that he was interested in appearing on the television programme.

In the episode, which will air on February 19 in the US, Simpsons characters Homer and Marge hear that Springfield residents have been holding secret meetings to evict the troublesome family from the town.

"The Simpsons go off the grid to this very rugged place where they meet [Assange], who's sort of their new Flanders," said Al Jean, executive producer of the show.

However, aside from being their new next door neighbour, the similarities between Flanders and Assange end there.

When the Simpsons are invited to watch a home movie with Assange they find themselves watching an Afghan wedding being bombed. "He's a controversial figure, and there's a good reason he's controversial," said Jean. "There was discussion internally whether or not to have him on the show, but ultimately we went ahead and did it."



Battle continues
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's two-day hearing at England's Supreme Court gets underway today, in the latest stage of his lengthy battle against extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.

If the court rejects his case, the 40-year-old Australian will have exhausted all his options in Britain but he could still make a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, prosecutors have said.

The Supreme Court, England's highest, granted Assange permission to appeal in December.

It said his case raised an issue of "great public importance", namely whether Sweden's state prosecutor had the right to sign the European arrest warrant under which he was held.

The case will be considered by seven judges, rather than the usual five.

The Supreme Court usually takes about 10 weeks to deliver a judgement but the parties have requested that this case be speeded up.

Today marks 421 days since the arrest of the former computer hacker, who has been living under tight bail conditions at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in Norfolk, eastern England.

Assange was arrested in Britain in December 2010 after two women made allegations of sexual molestation and an accusation of rape in Sweden, which he strongly denies.

He says the sex was consensual and claims the allegations are politically motivated.

Assange's extradition to Sweden was initially approved by a lower court in February. An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but it subsequently granted him permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If this appeal fails, the WikiLeaks founder will have only one other option to stop his extradition -- an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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