UK court jails Wikileaks’ Assange for breaching bail terms
In a fast moving episode, Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has appeared before a Westminster crown court for breaching his bail terms.
Assange was convicted on Thursday by a London court of skipping bail in 2012 after an extradition order to Sweden over an allegation of rape.
Assange, who pleaded not guilty was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London Thursday morning.
He will be sentenced a later date when he will face a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison for the offence.
Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court and following a US extradition request.
Judge Michael Snow at Westminster Magistrates Court found Assange guilty of failing to surrender, calling him a “narcissist” and suggesting his representations in court have been “shameful” and that the claim he has not had a fair hearing was “laughable”.
He sent Assange for sentencing at the Crown Court, and if guilty he faces a jail sentence of up to 12 months.
He will next appear in court on the 2nd of May by video link on the extradition matter.
He will next appear on the bail offence at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be announced.
Ecuador’s president said it withdrew his asylum after repeated violations of international conventions.
But Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.
Mr Assange was initially taken to a central London police station before appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon.
Dressed in a black suit and black polo shirt, he waved to the public gallery and gave a thumbs up. He pleaded “not guilty” to the 2012 charge of failing to surrender to the court.
The court heard that during his arrest at the embassy he had to be restrained and shouted: “This is unlawful, I am not leaving.”
Meanwhile Assange has been charged by the US for computer-related offences after he was arrested by the Metropolitan Police earlier today.
The Wikileaks founder faces possible extradition to the US after being expelled from the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he was hiding as a fugitive for seven years.
The US department of justice confirmed he has been charged with computer crimes, and added in a statement that if convicted he will face up to five years in prison.
The statement revealed criminal charges against Mr Assange linked to his role in the release of sensitive diplomatic cables in 2010.
Mr Assange was accused of helping Chelsea Manning, the ex-intelligence analyst in the US Army, to break a password to a classified US government computer.