WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail today for breaking his bail conditions.
The 47-year-old was found guilty of breaking the Bail Act after being arrested last month in London at the Ecuadorian embassy, in which he had taken refuge since 2012.
A letter written by Assange was read to Southwark Crown Court by his lawyer, Mark Summers QC.
Assange wrote: "I apologise unreservedly to those who consider that I have disrespected them by the way I pursued my case.
"I found myself struggling with difficult circumstances.
"I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done.
"I regret the course that has taken."
Before being sentenced, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange: "It's difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offence.
"By hiding in the embassy you deliberately put yourself out of reach, while remaining in the UK.”
She told Assange that he had exploited his "privileged position to flout the law".
Supporters of Assange shouted "shame on you" to the court room as he was taken down to the cells.
Assange may now face extradition to the US over conspiracy charges for one of the largest leaks of confidential government information.
Words by Wesley Hudson