Judge raised the ie of bail in a surprise move – and promptly rejected the option
Wikileaks founder julian assange will probably have to remain in prison in the uk even after the end of his minimum prison term. This was reported recently by the london-based evening standard newspaper. Assange had been told that he could not hope to be released from prison when his current sentence expires on 22 december. September could be suspended on bail for the first time. The publicist was arrested in the rooms of the ecuadorian embassy in london on april 11. April for violating the conditions of preservation in custody.
The 48-year-old was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison following his arrest in may after spending seven years in the ecuadorian embassy in london. In april, the police had dragged him out of the rooms in london’s posh knightsbridge district in a spectacular action. The reason for this was a decision by the ecuadorian government: unlike his predecessor rafael correa, the new president lenin moreno wanted to get rid of assange after he surprisingly changed to a pro-western and neoliberal course.
The consequences of moreno’s decision quickly became clear: after the british judiciary arrested assange, home secretary sajid javid made public an order in june that allowed assange to be extradited to the u.S. On hacking charges. The publicist’s defenders had always warned against the possibility of extradition to the u.S. Judiciary.
At a technical hearing last friday, judge vanessa baraitser at westminster magistrates court said there were "considerable reasons" for the amption that assange could abscond again after a possible prison term. The wikileaks founder was present at the trial via video from the high-security belmarsh prison.
Baraitser told assange: "you have been summoned here because your prison sentence is about to come to a possible end." in this case, his status changed from an incarcerated detainee to a candidate for extradition. Therefore, she gave the defense the opportunity to apply for bail on his behalf, the judge continued. But the defense lawyer who was present refused. "This is perhaps not surprising given her history of evading justice", baraitser continued – in order to refuse release on bail. When assange was asked if he understood the facts of the case, he replied: "not really. But i’m sure the lawyers will explain it."
Supporters of assange later made serious accusations against baraitser. The hearing was not about bail ies at all, wikileaks said in a statement. In one breath, baraitser raised the ie in a surprise move, catching assange and his lawyers off guard and rejecting a possible bail bond. Icelandic investigative journalist and wikileaks leader kristinn hrafnsson, however, does not want to dwell on the behavior of the westminster magistrates court. He said it was now a matter of concentrating on the central ie: preventing extradition to the u.S.
Further hearings in the assange case will take place on 11. And 21. October.