Assange gets bail, says WikiLeaks to continue its work

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LONDON - Julian Assange, founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, was released on bail Tuesday after an extradition hearing. The former hacker said he was “happy” at the outcome and vowed that WikiLeaks would continue its work.

Assange spoke to the media outside the Belmarsh magistrate’s court and expressed satisfaction at the hearing on his extradition to Sweden, according to The Guardian.

He said he was happy about the outcome and said the skeleton argument his legal team hastily produced over Christmas would be made publicly available later.

“I would also like to say that our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated and we are stepping up our publishing for matters relating to ‘cablegate’ and other materials. This will shortly be occurring through our newspaper partners around the world, big and small newspapers and some human rights organisations,” Assange said.

In Tuesday’s 10-minute session, Assange’s lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said all legal preparations were in place for a two-day extradition hearing next month.

District judge Nicholas Evans released Assange on conditional bail.

Assange spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. Wearing a dark suit and light-coloured shirt, he listened intently as he sat behind a glass screen at the top-security court.

His bail was modified, allowing him to stay at the Frontline Club in Paddington Feb 6 and 7, so that he does not have to travel far.

Robertson said Assange’s legal team was collecting evidence from further witnesses in Sweden.

Journalists from around the world filled about 100 seats in the court and an annexe connected by video link.

High-profile supporters of Assange who turned up included Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan and Gavin MacFadyen, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

A high court judge had released Assange on a 240,000 pound bail in December after the WikiLeaks founder had spent nine days in Wandsworth prison in London.

Sweden is seeking extradition of the 39-year-old Australian over allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, made by two women.

One of the women has alleged that Assange had sex with her without a condom when it was her “express wish” that one should be used. The second woman accuses him of having sex with her without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

Assange admits having had consensual sex with both women, but denies any criminal wrongdoing.

Assange has, meanwhile, signed a deal with Guardian Books, which will publish the first in-depth account of the WikiLeaks phenomenon.

The book will be called “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”.

will not be displayed