Court orders Julian Assange to stay in prison while awaiting US extradition

A judge has ordered Julian Assange to remain in prison indefinitely while awaiting extradition to the US because of his “history of absconding.”

The WikiLeaks founder was due to be released on September 22 after serving his sentence for breaching bail conditions when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange spent almost seven years inside the embassy. 

On Friday the Westminster Magistrates’ Court claimed there were “substantial grounds” for believing he would flee if released from prison. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange’s lawyer had not made an application for bail on his behalf, adding “perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.”

WikiLeaks and Assange’s mother Christine criticized the court proceedings, saying the judge had refused bail before the defense team had a chance to even request it.

The extradition hearing will start on February 25, 2020, after British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed off on the extradition request in June. The Australian citizen is fighting extradition to the US where he faces prosecution for allegedly leaking government secrets. 

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