Julian Assange granted bail after British ban fails
WikiLeaks man prepares to walk free after Swedes say: ‘We have no view on bail’
A judge at the High Court has upheld Tuesday's decision to grant bail to Julian Assange. The precise bail conditions are still being set, but within hours, the WikiLeaks founder will walk free.
Mr Justice Ouseley ruled today that as Assange would only face a short jail sentence, or none at all, if convicted in Sweden he should be allowed bail while he fights extradition. Bail was originally granted on Tuesday, but an appeal was lodged against the decision.
At first it was thought the appeal had been initiated by Swedish prosecutors, but this morning it emerged they were not involved. In fact, it was the UK's Crown Prosecution Service which hoped to prevent the WikiLeaks founder fighting extradition to Sweden as a free man.
But the CPS has lost its appeal - and Assange will spend Christmas in the Suffolk mansion of his supporter Vaughan Smith, not Wandsworth jail, where he has spent nine nights. The only problem for the court is that Bungay police station, the nearest, is only open part time - and Assange is required to report every day.
Assange's lawyers say they were told by the CPS that it was Sweden which was pushing to keep the 38-year-old Australian in jail after he was granted bail on Tuesday. However, yesterday the CPS confirmed to the Guardian that they were behind the appeal.
The paper also spoke to the Swedish prosecutor's office. The
communications director there, Karin Rosander, told them: "The
decision was made by the British prosecutor.
"I got it confirmed by the CPS this morning that the decision to
appeal the granting of bail was entirely a matter for the CPS. The
Swedish prosecutors are not entitled to make decisions within
She added: "The Swedish authorities are not involved in these
proceedings. We have not got a view at all on bail."
The news that British prosecutors sought to overturn the judge's decision to grant the WikiLeaks founder bail – and the misinformation previously surrounding that appeal – will add to suspicions there is something grubby about the attempted extradition.
In a letter to the Guardian last week, the charity Women Against
Rape said Assange was being pursued with "unusual zeal" and observed that there is a "long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas".
Outside the court on Tuesday, one female protestor expressed similar sentiments on her banner: "Sex crimes my arse!" ·
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