Judge believes Julian Assange could abscond again hence extends his jail time

Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to remain in prison because of his “history of absconding”.

Assange is due to be released on the 22nd of September  after serving his sentence for breaching bail conditions.

The court said that they have substantial evidence for believing he would abscond again.

The 48-year-old Australian is fighting extradition to the US over allegations of leaking government secrets. He will face a full extradition hearing next year, starting on 25 February, after an extradition request was signed by the then home secretary Sajid Javid in June.

Assange received a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh Prison, south-east London, after being found guilty of breaching the Bail Act in April.

He was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he took refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which he denies.

“You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition,” district judge Vanessa Baraitser told Assange who joined the court proceedings via a video link.

She said that his lawyer had declined to make an application for bail on his behalf.

In the United States Assange faces 18 charges, that include computer misuse and the unauthorised disclosure of national defence information.

According to the US Justice Department Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in “unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence”.

He spent seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London before being handed over to British authorities by Ecuador in April. In May this year, Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation into an allegation of rape against Assange.

Source : Various

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