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Assange surety backers ordered to pay up

Assange surety backers ordered to pay up

Published: 08 Oct 2012 16:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Oct 2012 16:17 GMT+02:00

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who stood as sureties before he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London were ordered on Monday to pay £93,500 ($150,000) by next month.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle at Westminster Magistrates Court in London said the nine had to pay the sum to the court by November 6th.

Assange has been in Ecuador's embassy since June in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden where prosecutors want to question him on sex assault allegations.

Britain has insisted it will arrest the 41-year-old Australian if he leaves the embassy premises.

Vaughan Smith, a documentary maker and businessman who let Assange stay on bail in his country mansion for more than a year, last week addressed the court on behalf of the nine sureties, arguing why they should not lose their money.

"We don't see how justice is served by punishing us for having done our best to serve the public interest in this complex and challenging case," he told the court.

"We submit that the sureties are wholly blameless, that we have worked assiduously to help Mr Assange to meet the requirements of the court."

In his judgement, Riddle acknowledged the nine backers had acted in good faith but said they must have known the risks when they agreed to support Assange.

"I accept that they trusted Mr Assange to surrender himself as required. I accept that they followed the proceedings and made necessary arrangements to remain in contact with him," he said.

"However, they failed in their basic duty, to ensure his surrender. They must have understood the risk and the concerns of the courts.

"Both this court and the High Court assessed that there were substantial grounds to believe the defendant would abscond, and that the risk could only be met by stringent conditions including the sureties," he said.

The nine have been told to pay between £3,500 and £15,000 each. They do not include Assange's high-profile supporters such as socialite and campaigner Jemima Khan and film director Ken Loach.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:50 October 8, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
The judge did take into consideration their dedication to Assange. However, they must have recognized their commitment to the court when they decided to act as surety. There is no surprise that they have to fulfill their commitment to pay the court.
22:18 October 8, 2012 by foxpur
The rules are very basic.

You pay a surety because you are saying you will vouch for his return as the court ordered.

He didn't show up, so you lose what you paid. Fail.

He ripped you off for the surety by hiding. Very simple.
02:57 October 9, 2012 by bcterry
It appears that his supporters feel the same way as assange, that they deserve special privilege, and the laws of the land do not apply to them.

I keep hearing about the millions of people that are assange supporters, but where are they when he needs a measly 150 grand, which is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things?

Suck it up, realize you've been had, and pay your debt, the same way as all the "little people" have to.
06:17 October 9, 2012 by OMaHTLD
Of course Asshang could fork out the money owed himself, but I somehow doubt he will.
10:01 October 9, 2012 by johan rebel
Assange obviously has the friends he deserves, and vice versa.
11:30 October 9, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Good. So they blooming well should.
12:48 October 9, 2012 by the fonz
This whole story is bull and these brave rich do gooders will have to pay up for their stupidity in believing the silly farce that surrounds this clown.

Julian Assange is not in the least worried about the yanks, or beinmg put to death in America. I mean come on....... could you imagin the fall out if USA killed him ??? Pathetic and unbelievably stupid.

Quite simply he thought he was some kind of untouchable star that could ride above the law and abuse whoever he wanted. He will eventually face the Swedish police for that quite rightly. What he is actually doing is running away from his responsibility and taking stupid idiotic rich people for a ride.

They deserve to lose their money for being so pathetic.
22:04 October 9, 2012 by Rat bat
I think that those people who backed assange with a promise of money should lose the money, assange is hiding like the coward he is in the embassy costing the tax payer money for the police who are waiting outside.

I think it is only proper and right that the tax payer should collect the money from those who promised it. A failure to do so will undermine the bail system !
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