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Assange remains in prison on bail challenge

AFP/The Local · 15 Dec 2010, 09:01

Published: 15 Dec 2010 09:01 GMT+01:00

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The 39-year-old Australian had given a thumbs-up to the packed courtroom in London as the judge granted him conditional bail Tuesday, one week after being arrested at the request of Swedish authorities.

However, two hours later, lawyers for Swedish prosecutors announced that they would appeal the ruling, meaning the case will now go to Britain's high court and a new hearing must be heard within 48 hours.

Until that time, Assange, who denies the allegations, must stay in his cell at Wandsworth prison in London.

"This is really turning into a show trial. They clearly will not spare any expense to keep Mr. Assange in jail," Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters after learning of the Swedish decision.

District judge Howard Riddle had earlier granted bail worth £240,000 ($378,000), but ordered that Assange wear an electronic tag, abide by a curfew and live at the country estate of a supporter.

"I am satisfied that the conditions I am going to impose will make it certain as far as the risk of flight is concerned," Riddle told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Celebrity supporters in court included socialite and campaigner Bianca Jagger, while US filmmaker Michael Moore offered to put up bail. Assange's mother Christine had flown in from Australia for the hearing.

The announcement of bail prompted cheers from about 20 supporters who had staged a protest in support of Assange outside court, but the response became muted as it emerged that he would not yet be freed.

Even if Sweden had not appealed, Stephens said the court had demanded that those standing bail for Assange come up with £200,000 in cash before he could be freed -- and this was unlikely to be raised immediately.

Another member of the legal team, high-profile human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, earlier told the court that the rape and molestation allegations made against his client by two Swedish women should not be taken seriously.

"It was very clear this is not an extremely serious offence. It is arguably not even a rape offence," Robertson said.

He added that Assange was being held in "Victorian" conditions in prison and was being detained in solitary confinement and allowed just one visit per week.

Assange was arrested on December 7th after giving himself up to police acting on an extradition warrant from Sweden.

His legal team has condemned the claims as politically motivated, noting their timing coincided with WikiLeaks' release of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, which have touched off a global storm. Swedish prosecutors insist their investigation is based on law.

Wearing a dark suit and a white shirt, Assange spoke in court Tuesday only to confirm his name, date of birth and address in Victoria, Australia. His next appearance at the court is on January 11th, with a full extradition hearing set for February 7th to 8th.

Earlier, Assange blasted three global giants that have stopped money being sent to his website -- credit card companies Visa and MasterCard and the Internet payment firm PayPal -- and accused them of being US puppets.

PayPal has said its decision to restrict the WikiLeaks account was not the result of any US pressure. The three firms have been attacked by computer hackers for their stance.

Story continues below…

In a statement to Australia's Channel 7, Assange also said WikiLeaks would not stop releasing the data, which has included candid reflections from US diplomats of world leaders and global events.

"My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed," Assange said, in a statement from prison he dictated to his mother.

US President Barack Obama has led worldwide condemnation of the leaks, calling them "deplorable," and Washington is pursuing a criminal investigation into how WikiLeaks obtained the information.

The latest US diplomatic cables released on Wednesday show American fears about the failure of west African governments to tackle increased drug trafficking through their countries.

Much of the concern focuses on Ghana, which sits at the centre of a new cocaine transit zone, according to the cables revealed in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:29 December 15, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Thank you The Local for giving this story the attention it deserves. There were dozens of journalists at yesterday's bail application in London, and the judgment is front page news across the globe.

This morning's Göteborgs Posten has it at the bottom of page eight. Why is the Swedish media downplaying the biggest Swedish news event for years?
09:40 December 15, 2010 by trevmar
Over the last decade I have made several trips to Sweden a year as part of my medical research. It is clear that I can no longer afford to chat in small groups od Swedes, especially groups of women, and this will hamper my interest in collaborating with Karolinska very significantly.

IMO, the way that this case has been handled, and the obvious imbalance between weight the Swedish justice system gives to corroborated and uncorroborated evidence, has crippled my view of Swedish justice. The goodwill of a generation has been poisoned...
09:51 December 15, 2010 by heroine
I don't think anyone could take the Swedish Prosecutors seriously, truly check out the background of the women's lawyer Claes Borgström; he's a straight up nut case: he's one of the 'all men are rapists crowd' (I know we'd thought we'd left that lot behind with the bell-bottom trousers.)

During his previous political career he declared that all men are mutually guilty of rape, because masculinity itself is inherently 'rape-ish'.

He also advocates a 'ManTax'. i.e. that men should pay a tax for being men because men are inherently socially destructive.

Also, there's a great article in the NewZealand Standard about the director of public prosecutions who reopened the case, Marianne Ny:


There's a great quote from Claes Borgström the when he was asked how he could bring a rape charge when both women had said the sex was consensual; his reply "They aren't lawyers" and so aren't in a position to know whether or not they've been raped. Thank god we don't live in a civil law country - this is exactly the kind of rubbish you end up with - lawyers twisting the law every-which-way; no doubt soon a sturdy British jury will laugh them out of court.
10:12 December 15, 2010 by lolipop8104
The swedish reputarion abroad has been seriously damaged with this story, and the fact that swedish media does not talk about it is due to its shameful contents. Anybody who reads about this can not but feel angry about Sweden and its judicial systeme.

I read on the Guardian today that some proeminent law professors in sweden said it was impossible that the USA could exert pressure on a prosecutor. The Germans say the same, and usually all countries of the world say the same. The wikileaks cables tell a different story. Of course it is not impossible.

I really feel some degree of hate towards Sweden and the swedish economy and I do not want to buy at Ikea in the near future. I also am not dating any swedish girls, and wil from now on be very careful, not to end up like Julian Assange. I did not know about the f***ed up system sweden has. If having sex to a drunk woman is a rape, then all men are rapers since there is hardly a sober woman on a regular week-end in Sweden. Says a portuguese who lives in Berlin
10:28 December 15, 2010 by Twiceshy
I understand two women claim to have been raped by Assange.

Since then, one of these women has left Sweden, and is now in Israel, the press informs me.

Has Sweden asked Israel extradition of the plaintiff yet?
12:11 December 15, 2010 by ChomskyReader
There is something more sinister going here. The fact the Assange was questioned regarding the alleged rape charges in August, months before the release of the first set of incriminationg information against the USA and other governments, he was then released and was allowed to leave Sweden.

Swedish representatives are interested in pursuing him now that he is abroad. Why? What is the urgency? I am not saying he is innocent of the sexual assault/rape charges however he has done nothing wrong, other than do what the world press should be doing, reporting the news in a unbiased way to the recieving public!

Of course not all news needs to be reported, however news that shows our governments knowledge of the murdering of innocent citizens, shot by our supposedly good soldiers from helicopters is worthy of peoples attention.

The Swedish press or those who control it should be ashamed today, however as said, there is something sinister at work here and that is why the Sweish media chose consciencely to not report the news of his detainment in the same way as the other media in other parts of the world.
12:44 December 15, 2010 by RobinHood
The journos at the Local are in a better position than most to comment on the Swedish media's apparent reluctance to report this international story with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the world.

Come on the Local. What's your take? Is the Swedish media ashamed? Subject to reporting restrictions? Bored with it? Distracted by mad bombers? Or do they genuinely think it's not a very important story?
13:36 December 15, 2010 by Yuretz
People! Have you seen whether somewhere truly objective media?

In any country in the world media publish only the information that is needed and meets the Government. Any media under government control. Are you still delusional democracy? Democracy is not a long time ago. And anyway if it were!?
14:09 December 15, 2010 by Albertoz
The Spanish Inquisition was in 1478, now the world watches the Swedish Inquistion in 2010. The Swedish people have a government that looks more like Monty Python by the minute. "Sex by Surprise" indeed, Marianne Ny is replicating Macbeth as the 3 witches all rolled into one. I would not wear a condom with that witch, I would wear a wet suit.
14:56 December 15, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
"sex by surprise", because a condom breaks without warning: thereby surprised and then rape.

"you need a lawyer" to know if u were raped. seem like a "cut-neck" lawyer on rampage
15:01 December 15, 2010 by Gojam
Sweden tried to keep the extent of security ties with the US secret from Swedish parliament and it's people.

Reported in Daily Telegraph from leaked cables.

15:25 December 15, 2010 by pelican 3915
Am Amazed the Swedish people are not up in-arms on this cooked up plot to silence Assange. The prosecution are hellbent on keeping him in Solitary confinement!! An Innocent man - No Charges as yet - No Conviction - Still they appeal British Justice in relation to his Bail application - after he hands in Passport ,wears an Electronic Monitor & Posts a large surety!!!

If all you want to do is interview Assange - send officers to the UK to interview him !!!

Clearly the Swedish Authorities are "in bed" with the U.S in their efforts to silence this person who is a Warrior for Free Speech , Open Government and is in the process of Letting the Sun Shine in on various Governments activities & Lies to their People !!

COME ON SWEDEN cease being a terrorist in relation to free speech!!!
17:08 December 15, 2010 by meanroy
It's strange to me that there hasn't been more heard from the Swedish people about some of the WikiLeaks releases.

In the Op-Ed article in (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/dont-shoot-messenger-for-revealing-uncomfortable-truths/story-fn775xjq-1225967241332) The Australian December 08, 2010 I note the bullet point:

► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.

As Gojam points out this has been known for some time.

How can it not be apparent that the U.S. State Dept and Embassy officials are interfering with Sweden's legal system for their benefit?

17:18 December 15, 2010 by Liquidmonkey
this entire situation is a TOTAL FIASCO!

such a small charge has been taken to such HUGE heights, it makes no sense at all :(

its total corruption and the politicians are playing right along, such crap.
20:38 December 15, 2010 by Ivan Juric
I use to admire Sweden for its neutrality and fairness. Now Sweden is also becoming a lackey to the USA. This will have a negative effect on the Swedish economy also. There are already plans to boycott Swedish product here in Melbourne and my guess is Ikea will be affected by this.
20:43 December 15, 2010 by arcobelina
very quiet in the pages of hte paper - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8202745/WikiLeaks-Swedish-government-hid-anti-terror-operations-with-America-from-Parliament.html - - Swedish authorities had a secret deal with the USA to avoid parliamentary scrutiny and the ministry of justice was tied up in the secrecy.

Isnt the ministry of justice the one trying to persecute Assange in London? Has this all been done to keep Assange quiet in the hope that the secret deals don't come out?

Will the MOJ stop theior persecution and allow him to go free? Will your parliament investigate the illegal actions of the secret cover ups and the illegal persuction of Assange?
21:16 December 15, 2010 by alecLoTh
Therer was tak in the New Zealand Herald of people boycotting IKEA - why is Sweden going to such great lengths to tarnished a relatively honourable name?
00:50 December 16, 2010 by ovadamoon
Sweden be warned ~ your government is failing you. People all around the world are laughing at the failures and abuse of your legal system. Your famous neutrality is now gone, sacrificed to the USA. How did you allow this to happen? Why are you not marching in the street?

03:52 December 16, 2010 by PaulHummerman
Your article states "However, two hours later, lawyers for Swedish prosecutors announced that they would appeal the ruling". However the UK Guardian reports that the UK Crown Prosecution Office appealed the ruling, and not the Swedish authorities. Assange is a doomed man, and Sweden's role in this will become its shame.
19:08 December 28, 2010 by buckrogersday
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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