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Assange surety backers face anxious wait

AFP/The Local · 4 Oct 2012, 07:11

Published: 04 Oct 2012 07:11 GMT+02:00

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The Australian founder of WikiLeaks, 41, has been holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London since claiming asylum on June 19th in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over alleged sex crimes.

In a 30-minute hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Wednesday, the supporters of Assange were told a decision would be made within "a few days".

In English law, a surety is a person who assumes legal responsibility for the fulfillment of another's debt or obligation and becomes liable if the other defaults.

If a person who is bailed fails to deliver on their promises, the surety becomes liable to pay the sum of money pledged.

Vaughan Smith, a documentary maker and businessman who let Assange stay on bail in his country mansion for more than a year, 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 Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle.

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

Among the other eight backers are Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir John Sulston, the wife of a former government figure, a former actress and two of Assange's WikiLeaks assistants.

"We never envisaged when we agreed to become sureties that the matter would become a diplomatic argument and it is clear that this needs to be resolved at a governmental level," Smith said.

Assange denies the sex crime allegations and fears Sweden would extradite him to the United States, where his supporters claim he could receive harsh treatment and possibly even the death penalty.

WikiLeaks embarrassed the US government in 2010 by publishing huge caches of confidential documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables from US embassies.

Story continues below…

Ecuador granted Assange asylum on August 16 but Britain has denied him safe passage out of the country.

A group of supporters including the campaigner Jemima Khan, film director Ken Loach and Australian-born journalist John Pilger have already lost £200,000 in bail money after Assange broke his conditions by fleeing to the embassy.

Judge Riddle's decision will be sent to the sureties and the press, without a court hearing taking place.

"I'm not going to give a decision (on Wednesday), because there's a lot to read, and a fair amount to think about," Riddle said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:57 October 4, 2012 by byke
Another piece of terrible journalism printed by the local.

"Assange surety backers face anxious wait"

At what point is there any question in the story printed that shows signs of anxiety? Clearly by much of the stories printed on The Local and use of such fabricated statements there is a clear agenda at work.
12:33 October 4, 2012 by the fonz
I can't see how there is any confusion here. When you agree to these arrangements you agree to pay if promises aren't met. They weren't - unlucky.

I have no doubt that the sureties thought they were doing the right thing, so much so that they were willing to risk money. They gambled, they lost!
13:31 October 4, 2012 by rolfkrohna
For crying out LOUD.

Could we have someone running this site who speaks English, please.

It is called BOND, not surety.

And turn off insults and censorship as

"Comment contains too many upper case characters. Try switching the CAPS LOCK off." off please. it is highly derogative and degrading.
14:26 October 4, 2012 by bcterry
I'm sure they must have known it was a possibility that they might lose their money, as this hero of the average Joe, of highest integrity and honesty must have informed them going in that if all else failed his last resort would be to seek protection from Ecuador by applying for amnesty to their country.

I mean what honest decent man would dupe those who came forward to help him in his time of need?
14:33 October 4, 2012 by foxpur

It is accurate. It is actually called a "Surety Bond" and can either referred to as a Surety and a Bond... in UK legal system is usually referred to as a Surety
16:57 October 4, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
The courts did answer Assange's concern about being extradites to the US and were unconvinced. They also noted that the UK will have to approve such request.

Reading some comments it is easy to conclude that the sureties will have to pay the money they owe the courts.

The idea about opting out of EAW is a sovereignty issue, but the proponents of the idea still want to use it case-by-case. It is more of a concern about British citizens.

It is always amusing watching Assange apologist twist themselves through knots.
18:13 October 4, 2012 by bcterry

I'm not the one who has held him in high esteem, his followers who seem to believe he walks on water have.

As for the U.K. withdrawing from the EAW, i cannot comment, as i'm not up to snuff on the details.

I do know this about the U.K., they've been right on point with the justice they have afforded assange. He's had every opportunity to make his case, they gave him the opportunity to go through every step of the appeal process, and he lost fair and square.

Then, ....... he bolted.

You can guess all you want about U.K.'s position and reasoning, but as of now it's all speculation with no basis in fact.

As far as assange predicting how they would rule on his appeals, it's a simple fact that both he and his lawyers knew there was a chance that the ruling would go against him, and any lawyer worth his salt would advise his clients that victory is never guaranteed, and the possibility of losing is always in the cards.
21:24 October 4, 2012 by bcterry
@Arbed, i found this,

Up to snuff


Initially, the phrase meant 'sharp and in the know'; more recently, 'up to the required standard'.


'Up to snuff' originated in the early 19th century. In 1811, the English playwright John Poole wrote Hamlet Travestie, a parody of Shakespeare, in the style of Doctor Johnson and George Steevens, which included the expression.

"He knows well enough The game we're after: Zooks, he's up to snuff." &

"He is up to snuff, i.e. he is the knowing one."

I'm surprised ascaqc
02:49 October 5, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
A request was made for Assange's extradition and a hearing was held to determine whether Assange should be extradited. By being the Ecuador Embassy, London when he was suppost to be a his registered address he violated his bail conditions. By not surrendering before his extradition date he "bolted." With Assange violating his bail conditions any concern relating to his incarceration is mute.

For some it seems everything that happens in the world is all about Assange.
02:19 October 6, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
"Pity that that request and hearing was based on false evidence???"

Assange, is accused "consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge." Now, that is confusing.

Assange has admitted to having sexual intercourse with both woman, and his preference of not wearing a condom during intercourse.

I have no intention of engaging in trial through media, the authority to determine the adequateness of the evidence is a court in Sweden.

The amusement is in the defense of Assange in the acts were consensual, now some seem suggest that it never happened.

So, Assange needs to go to Sweden do defend himself against the accusations.
09:16 October 6, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Assange is accused of a crime, and that is the minimal requirement.

" Article 2nd.

Persons convicted or accused of any of the following crimes shall be delivered up, in accordance with the provision of this treat.

2nd. The crime or rape, ..."

That is from of the Republic of Ecuador's extradtion treaty with the United States of America.

It is great that some are finally releasing the accusations are not false, as they have not been dropped.

So, Assange must go to Sweden do defend himself against the accusations.
13:54 October 6, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
That is a false analogy.

Many people have to put their lives on hold while criminal proceeding were being conducting. This includes situations when they cross international borders.

Most people understand when visiting a foreign country is to avoid committing acts that would be a crime in my home country. Also, to avoid engaging in acts that would be a crime in a foreign country.

Most people do avoid getting in the situation that Assange finds himself in. They know what they would have to sacrifice to defend themselves, and accept that it is not worth it. This is the same principle that keeps people being law abiding.

Assange has repeatedly insisted that the relationship was consensual.

So, Assange must go to Sweden and stop hiding. He is only hurting himself, and has caused distraction away from Wikileaks.
17:03 October 6, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant

I am afraid that you are starting to take the accusations against Assange a little to personal.

As stated before many people have had to sacrifice a lot in order to defend themselves against accusation. Assange is going through the same procedure that many others have come before him. They have had to sacrifice much.

This entire thing could have ended already if Assange's Swedish lawyers served him better. So, if you feel so passionate about your position please suggest to Assange that you will defend him in Sweden.

P.S. people who are convicted for circumventing the law are no law-abiding citizens.
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