WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted bail, but still in jail in London on questioning warrant

December 15th, 2010 by Staff


www.nydailynews.com – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, jailed in Britain for questioning in a Swedish sex case, was granted bail Tuesday – but not freed.

Swedish prosecutors said they would appeal the granting of bail and the British court said Assange must remain behind bars until the appeal is heard later this week.

“This is really turning into a show trial,” fumed Assange lawyer Mark Stephens.

The hearing drew a chaotic mob of reporters, supporters and protesters. Geoffrey Robertson, Assange’s new lead defense lawyer, had to pound on the courtroom doors to be let in.

Assange, 39, who rocked Washington last month when he began publishing a stolen trove of 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables, is wanted for questioning in a Stockholm sex case he says was trumped up.

Assange surrendered in London last week, wrongly assuming that he would be out on bail while he fought extradition.

Central London Magistrate Howard Riddle, who denied bail last week, said he decided to free Assange after his lawyers were able to “verify” his address in the United Kingdom.

Riddle said Assange could walk free if he posted $380,000 in bail.

The itinerant Australian’s celebrity supporters began gathering cash. Activist filmmaker Michael Moore offered $20,000.

“We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie,” he said. “Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off.”

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found more than two-thirds of Americans say WikiLeaks is harmful and about six in 10 say Assange should face criminal charges.

hkennedy@nydailynews.com


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