Crime & the Law

Julian Assange sentenced for skipping bail

Protesters outside Southwark Crown Court. Photo credit: Julia Webster

Protesters gathered outside Southwark Crown Court today where Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange received a 50-week prison sentence for jumping bail.

He was arrested earlier this month after being expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had claimed asylum  over the last seven years.

The US have charged him with computer intrusion for conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer, resulting in one of the largest compromises of classified information in US history.

Ecuador’s decision to revoke his diplomatic refuge came after Foreign Minister José Valencia and Interior Minister María Paula Romo accused Assange of riding scooters around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff, and smearing human faeces on the walls.

Assange’s lawyers say the allegation about the faeces is not true.

For months, Assange had been pursuing legal action against the Ecuadorian government, accusing it of violating his rights by introducing strict new house rules for living at the embassy.

In a letter read to the court by Assange’s lawyer, the Wikileaks co-founder apologised to those who ‘consider I’ve disrespected them’.

The statement continued:  ‘I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done.’

As he was taken down to the cells, he raised a fist in defiance to the public gallery behind him, who responded with raised fists of their own in solidarity.

Protesters outside the court were heard yelling ‘No justice in the UK’.

I spoke with Jim, a protester holding a sign that read Free Julian Assange – Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

With one battle behind him, another battle still looms for Assange.

The UK is expected to comply with US requests for his extradition.

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