British judge denies WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange bail in extradition case

UK judge to decide on bail for imprisoned Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Lawyers for the United States government, however, told the court there were "no conditions that could guarantee his surrender" if Assange were released from custody.

Even though District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected an extradition request, the US Department of Justice said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and will continue its efforts to have the WikiLeaks founder extradited.

Crowds of supports had gathered outside the court awaiting the ruling.

Assange will have to remain in custody as the U.S. government is appealing against Monday's extradition ruling.

Judge Baraitser agreed with lawyers for the DOJ and said Mr. Assange was a flight risk.

The US said it would appeal against the decision on Monday and asked for Assange to be remanded in custody while that process was ongoing.

Even if the U.S. loses again, it could also appeal to the UK Supreme Court, which would mean longer delays.

Sputnik is live from outside the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London as Julian Assange's lawyers are set to make a fresh appeal to have the journalist released from jail.

His lawyers tried to get him released in March on the grounds that he was at risk from COVID-19. Judges then rejected that argument, saying Assange could skip bail if released.

He was arrested after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He was holed up there for years after Sweden issued an arrest warrant in connection with sexual assault allegations.

British police dragged Assange out of the embassy in April 2019 after Ecuador revoked his citizenship.

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Fitzgerald said that conditions at Belmarsh prison undermined Assange's fragile mental health. The UN called the sentence "disproportionate". But she also heard extensive evidence that after years of what Assange's partner Stella Moris described as political persecution, the activist was now a "depressed and sometimes despairing man". "Despite this, the judge just ruled he must remain imprisoned-in a Covid-ridden high-security prison-while the USA appeals". "The court has given a decision and the decision has been that he should be discharged".

Marc Raimondi, acting director of Public Affairs for the US Department of Justice said in a statement on Monday that "while we are extremely disappointed in the court's ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised".

Assange has now been fighting extradition for the better part of a decade, initially avoiding being sent to Sweden to face a criminal inquiry there, and then eluding USA attempts to haul him into federal court to face a raft of charges related to the publication of sensitive diplomatic cables and secret military records from the Iran and Afghanistan conflicts.

Assange is facing an 18-count United States federal indictment for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables.

Manning was pardoned by former President Barack Obama at the end of his second four-year term.

He faces a possible 175-year sentence if convicted but Assange and his lawyers have long argued the case against him is politically motivated.

"Mr Assange still has an incentive to abscond from these as yet unresolved proceedings", she said.

But she said his mental health would probably deteriorate in the U.S. penal system "causing him to commit suicide".

The Guild's statement came after the United Kingdom court's judgment turning down the USA government's request to extradite Mr. Assange.

"As far as Mr. Assange is concerned this case has not yet been won", the judge said.

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