Assange bail saga continues

Swedish prosecutors will make their
appeal against bail for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the High Court today,
Thursday.

The 39-year-old was granted bail at
City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on the condition he provides
sureties of $376,000 in cash.

But he was forced to remain in
Wandsworth Prison pending the appeal.

Mr Assange is fighting extradition
to Sweden, where he denies sexually assaulting two women.

He argues that the allegations
against him are politically motivated and are designed to distract attention
from the sensitive material being exposed by his whistle-blowing website.

Mr Assange was granted bail on
condition he provides a security of $313,000 to the court, with a further $63,000
guaranteed in two sureties of $31,000 each.

He must also surrender his
passport, obey a curfew at an address in Norfolk, wear an electronic tag and
report to a local police station every evening.

His lawyer Mark Stephens is in the
process of gathering the $313,000 in cash and had received a number of offers
of money from members of the general public.

“It is unlikely that even if
convicted Assange will go to jail, so in those circumstances one has to ask oneself
why the Swedish authorities are so dead-set that he will spend Christmas in
jail? Do they have the genes of Scrooge?” Stephens said.

Mr Assange is accused of having
unprotected sex with a woman, identified only as Miss A, when she insisted he
use a condom.

He is also accused of having
unprotected sex with another woman, Miss W, while she was asleep.

The extradition case is due to
return to the magistrates’ court on 11 January.

In recent weeks, Wikileaks has
published a series of US diplomatic cables revealing confidential information
on subjects such as terrorism and international relations.

These have been detailed in the
Guardian in the UK, and several other newspapers around the world.

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