It’s not over till it’s over huh. Wikileaks head Julian Assange has been granted bail. However, an immediate appeal lodged by Swedish prosecutors trying to have him extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations means that he must now stay in custody until the appeal is heard at some time in the next 48 hours. It’s not known when, as yet.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens, best known for defending human rights cases, told reporters outside court that “they want to put Mr Assange through more hurdles and expense,” and that the case was turning into a “a show trial.” Conditional bail had been set at £200,000, put up by a host of celebrities who are backing Assange, including U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore. Crowds of protesters have been surrounding every episode outside court, some dressed in Assange masks.
The full list of the charges which the Swedish court hopes to bring at a trial in Stockholm are here. Best put your TMZ hat on.
The bail being granted was largely down to an address in the UK being found where the Australian can remain during the extradition trial. This will be the 600-acre country estate owned by supporter Vaughn Smith, a former Army captain who founded and runs The Frontline Club for journalists where Assange has made regular public appearances and where he was staying prior to the case being brought. (Frontline has played host to a succesion of journalists and bloggers over the years, including tech ones, but it’s never known as much notoriety as this).
It has to be said that the to-and-froing over this case could probably have been avoided. The judge was singularly unimpressed with a PO Box “address” put forward by Assange at a previous bail application a week ago.
The £200,000 bail can not be provided by Visa, MasterCard or cheque, and will be posted in cash – presumably since Wikileaks has severed all ties with those organisations after they cancelled its accounts.
Assange was photographed in a prison van as he arrived at court. He has been held in solitary confinement in Wandsworth Prison with only 30 minutes per day to exercise, and is denied both mail and communication with other inmates.
Assange has denied all allegations, which he says stem from a dispute with two women (whom he met at a conference in Sweden) over “consensual but unprotected sex”.
Update: The web site for Marianne Ny, the chief Swedish prosecutor, is down, and possibly under a DDOS attack.