Assange arrives at court amid 'treachery' claims

UPDATE, 10:30 GMT: After just ten minutes before the judge, Assange is back out of court. The date for his extradition hearing has been fixed as 7-8th February, again at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court.

A minor change has been allowed to Assange's bail conditions to allow the WikiLeaks founder to stay at the Frontline Club in London, co-founded by his friend Vaughan Smith, at whose house he has been staying since being released on bail before Christmas.

The change has been allowed to avoid a lengthy commute between Smith's house in Suffolk and the London court.

A statement is expected in the next few minutes.

Julian Assange complained of "treachery" as he arrived at court today to arrange a full hearing into his extradition to Sweden, according to a report from the scene.

Assange smiled and chatted to reporters as he arrived outside Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in South-East London shortly after 9:20 GMT for the the hearing at 10:00.

But in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter, Alexi Mostrous of The Times newspaper said that Assange alluded to being "pissed off about various forms of treachery".

The WikiLeaks founder appears today before district judge Nicholas Evans, when preparations will be made for a two-day extradition hearing, expected to begin on 7th February.

The 39-year-old Australian was released on bail of £240,000 before Christmas, which he spent under what the judge at his bail hearing joked was "mansion arrest", at the country home of his friend and fellow journalist Vaughan Smith, founder of London's Frontline Club.

Assange has been forced to surrender his passport and submit himself to electronic tagging. He is wanted for questioning by Swedish prosecutors over allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion made by two women in August last year.

One women accuses Assange of having sex with her without using a condom, when it was her "express wish" that one should be used. The second alleges that he initiated sex with her without a condom while she slept.

Assange denies all allegations, and has suggested that they are politically motivated, after the release by WikiLeaks of US government secrets concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the release in November of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables between the US State Department and embassies worldwide.