Julian Assange to stay in prison due to ‘history of absconding’

Julian Assange has been in prison since April

Friday, September 13, 2019

Julian Assange has been told he will stay in prison at the end of his current sentence because of fears he will abscond.

He is awaiting extradition to the US after the British government signed an order allowing the Wikileaks founder to face computer hacking allegations there.

Assange was dramatically dragged from London’s Ecuadorian embassy in April after Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said the country had “reached its limit” over the Australian hacker’s behaviour.

He was sentenced to a 50-week jail term for jumping bail in 2012 by spending seven years under political asylum in the embassy.

He would have been released from London's Belmarsh prison on September 22 this year, but the 48-year-old has been told he will be kept in jail because he has a “history of absconding".

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said he will soon be classed as a “person facing extradition”.

“I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so. Perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings,” she said.

“In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”

When asked if Assange understood what was happening he said: “Not really. I'm sure the lawyers will explain it.”

He will face court twice in October for an administrative hearing and a case management hearing, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard, with the final extradition hearing due in February.

He faces 18 charges in the US, including unauthorised disclosure of national defence information and computer misuse.

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