A British judge denied bail from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday over concerns that he would “not surrender to the court to open an appeals process in his extradition case”.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser made the announcement just two days after he denied a U.S. request to transfer Assange to the Atlantic, arguing he was likely to commit suicide if released on espionage charges. The United States is appealing the decision.
“I am convinced that there are good reasons to assume that if Mr Assange is released today, he will not surrender to the court to initiate an appeals process,” Baraitser said on Reuters on Wednesday.
THE EXTENSION OF ASSANGE WAS REFUSED BY THE BRITISH JUDGE
“As for Mr Assange, this case has not yet been won … the outcome of the appeal is not yet known,” he added.
One of Assange’s lawyers, Barry Pollack, called the judge’s latest decision “extremely disappointing” because “despite Mr Assange’s request to extradite him to the United States, he will continue to be held in a maximum security prison in London, closed during a pandemic.”
“We look forward to the day you can reunite with your family,” he added in a statement to Fox News.
U.S. prosecutors charged Assangen with 17 espionage charges and a computer misuse charge a decade ago for publishing leaked military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks. The maximum sentence for the charges is 175 years in prison.
PAMELA ANDERSON CONCERNS REFUSAL TO EXTEND ASSANGE
Rejecting the extradition request on Monday, Baraitser said Assange suffered from clinical depression that would be exacerbated by the isolation he was likely to face in an American prison.
The judge also noted that Assange has “meaning and determination” to circumvent any suicide prevention measures taken by the authorities.
Assange’s legal problems began in 2010 when she was arrested in London at Sweden’s request to question two women on charges of rape and sexual abuse. In 2012, to avoid being sent to Sweden, Assange sought refuge within the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was unavailable to the UK and Swedish authorities – but also practically a prisoner who could not leave the tiny diplomatic mission around London’s tony Knightsbridge.
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The relationship between Assange and his hosts eventually deteriorated, and in April 2019 he was evicted from the embassy.
Sweden canceled the investigation of sexual crimes in November 2019 because so much time had passed, but Assange is still in London’s Belmarsh prison with a strict security system, who was brought to court in a extradition trial during his extradition trial.
Fox News Lillian LeCroy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.