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Julian Assange denied bail during US extradition appeal

Julian Assange's partner Stella Moris and Kristinn Hrafnsson. (Ray Tang/London News Pictures/Zuma Press/TNS)

Julian Assange was denied bail by a U.K. judge Wednesday, two days after the court blocked the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the U.S. on mental-health grounds.

The ruling means the 49-year-old will remain in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, where he’s been for nearly two years. He will be held while the U.S. government tries to appeal the extradition ruling after the judge deemed him to still be a flight risk.

Supporters of Julian Assange celebrate after the verdict outside the Old Bailey on Jan. 4, 2021 in London. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images/TNS)

Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange “still has an incentive to abscond,” and pointed to his previous breaking of strict bail conditions.

Baraitser ruled Monday that the WikiLeaks founder shouldn’t be sent to the U.S. to face criminal charges because of fears that he might commit suicide in jail.

On Wednesday, an attorney for the U.S., Clair Dobbin, reminded the court that Assange spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy rather than face questioning in a sexual assault probe and that countries, including Mexico, have already offered him asylum rather than allow him to face American espionage charges.

Stella Moris speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey. (Leon Neal/Getty Images/TNS)

“There are no conditions that can guarantee his surrender,” Dobbin said. “The history of his attempts to evade extradition to the U.S. shows he is capable of going to any length.”

The Australian spent the last decade either in a U.K. prison or hiding out in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid deportation. He’s fighting efforts to bring him to America to face charges of espionage for his role in releasing hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents via WikiLeaks, with the help of U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.


© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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