Julian Assange

Julian Assange has been refused bail in the wake of a legal ruling that he should not be extradited to the United States.

The Guardian UK reports that the co-founder of Wikileaks has been held at Belmarsh prison in south-east London for the past 18 months after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum for seven years.

While previous bail applications had been rejected, his lawyers believed his chances of bail being granted on Wednesday were greatly boosted by the legal win in his fight against extradition to the US on espionage and hacking charges.

Assange’s lawyers on Wednesday emphasised new family ties here in the UK revolving around the two young children he has fathered with his partner, Stella Moris. Assange would be bailed to the couple’s home address, his legal team said.

Lawyers for US authorities have indicated they will appeal against Monday’s extradition ruling by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, who was sitting at the central criminal court of England and Wales. While rejecting arguments that Assange would not get a fair trial in the US, she blocked extradition on the basis that procedures in prisons there would not prevent him from potentially taking his own life.

Supporters gathered outside of Westminster magistrates court in west London on Wednesday ahead of the bail application.

The American prosecutor seeking to put Julian Assange on trial in the US has meanwhile said he is uncertain if Joe Biden’s incoming White House administration will continue to seek the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder.

Zachary Terwilliger, who was appointed by Donald Trump, made the comments as it was announced he was stepping down as the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“It will be very interesting to see what happens with this case. There’ll be some decisions to be made. Some of this does come down to resources and where you’re going to focus your energies,” he told NPR.


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