Thursday, December 16, 2010

WikiLeak's Julian Assange Granted Bail at London's High Court

WikiLeaks' Assange to Walk Out of Jail

VOA News
16 December 2010

Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and his lawyer Mark Stephens faced the media outside the High Court, London, Dec 16, 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will walk free from prison, after a London court granted him bail Thursday.

The British high court rejected an appeal against bail from prosecutors in Sweden, where he is wanted on rape allegations.

The legal head of the Swedish prosecutor's office, Nils Rekke, told the BBC that he has no reaction to the British court's decision and that Sweden is not interfering in the proceedings.

Judge Duncan Ouseley agreed to release Assange on strict conditions, which include a bail of $315,000, plus two sureties equaling about $62,500. He also must wear an electronic monitoring tag, check in with police daily and stay at the home of former British army officer and WikiLeaks supporter, Vaughan Smith.

Assange has been held in Wandsworth prison in London since Dec 7, when he surrendered to authorities.

One of Assange's lawyers, Mark Stephens, said as he entered court Thursday that the bail money had been raised by a number of Wikileaks supporters and that it appeared to be "in the banking system."

Stephens complained about the conditions in which Assange was being held, describing them as antiquated. Media reports said he was being held in solitary confinement.

An extradition hearing will be held early next year. Assange is accused of sexual misconduct with two female WikiLeaks volunteers in Sweden in August. He denies the allegations. The WikiLeaks founder and his lawyers claim the charges are politically motivated.

The WikiLeaks website has released hundreds of classified documents since the website was launched in 2006, roiling governments worldwide. The latest batch include nearly 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

The website has continued to distribute the classified U.S. cables while Assange is in jail, and his online supporters have launched attacks against those they see as persecuting him.

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