WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has been returned to London’s Wandworth Prison despite winning bail from a British court over night.
Assange will be held in the prison for another 48 hours while Swedish prosecutors mount a High Court appeal against the decision. The prosecutors want to extradite Assange to face allegations of sex crimes.
Australian QC Geoffrey Robertson is leading Assange’s legal team, and have offered $380,000 in surety, on top of Assange wearing GPS security tracking tags, report to police every day and adhere to curfews while the extradition case goes ahead.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens said his client’s relief at the bail decision had evaporated as he was called back to prison. He said it is “unfortunate” the Swedish will not “abide by the umpire’s decision”. He said the case against Assange is turning into a “show trial”.
There has been some confusion as to who offered the bail money for Assange’s release.
It is understood high profile individuals paying for the bail include journalist John Pilger, filmmakers Michael Moore, Tariq Ali and Ken Loach, socialite Jemima Khan and others.
Michael Moore has confirmed he paid US$20,000 of his own money. He posted a blog on his own website explaining his reasons for the bail money today.
“Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
“Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
We were taken towar in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again,” Moore writes.
“So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top,” he said.
Moore quotes Senator Joe Lieberman, who said WikiLeaks “has violated the Espionage Act”, as well asThe New Yorker's George Packer, who called Assange “super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal”.
Sarah Palin, meanwhile, labelled Assange “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders”.
See Michael Moore’s blog post here: http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/why-im-posting-bail-money
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