Julian Assange refused bail after extradition of Wikileaks founder to US blocked

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been denied bail by a London court as the legal battle over his extradition to the US continues.

Today’s ruling came after the 49-year-old’s extradition was blocked on Monday – a move which the US government has appealed.

Assange’s lawyers had lodged a renewed bail appeal – but this morning representatives from the US government objected to the bid.

He famously entered the Equadorian Embassy in London in 2012 to avoid being sent to Sweden to face sex offence allegations, which were later dropped.

Lawyer Clair Dobbin, representing the US government, argued there were no conditions that would guarantee Assange would surrender to bail.

She said: “He is someone who has shown himself as capable of going to extraordinary lengths to avoid extradition.”

She said the court should be under no illusions of the willingness of other states to help Assange, citing the president of Mexico offering him asylum during a briefing.

The lawyer said Assange was capable of going to “almost any lengths” to avoid being sent to the US, to the point of spending seven years living in the Ecuador embassy in London.

The renewed bail application by Assange’s legal team comes after judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked a bid to extradite the 49-year-old to the United States on Monday.

The US government is appealing against her decision.

“I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that if Mr Assange is released today he would fail to surrender to court to face the appeal proceedings,” Judge Vanessa Baraitser said.

Ed Fitzgerald QC, representing Assange, had earlier told the court: “Put simply, Mr Assange has every reason to stay in this jurisdiction where he has the protection of the rule of law and this court’s decision.”

He added: “We say the events of 2012 and the reasons accepted in March 2020 for refusing bail have been overtaken.”

Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex offence allegations, which he has always denied and were eventually dropped.

He said: “My learned friend made the point he could go to another embassy. It is pretty clear the experience of going to the Ecuador embassy in the end was an extremely unpleasant one, leading to him being confined for some seven years and a change in government leading to a change in the position. That is not something he is ever likely to repeat.

“He can be put under house arrest but at least he will finally regain his liberty and be able to have the benefit of the long-awaited decision of this court.”