Wikileaks editor denied bail

Wikileaks editor denied bail

Summary: Julian Assange has been denied bail, and will be remanded in custody until mid-December, a magistrate ruled on Tuesday.Howard Riddle, chief magistrate of City of London Westminster magistrates court, deemed Assange to be capable of breaking bail conditions.

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Julian Assange has been denied bail, and will be remanded in custody until mid-December, a magistrate ruled on Tuesday.

Howard Riddle, chief magistrate of City of London Westminster magistrates court, deemed Assange to be capable of breaking bail conditions.

"It's been said that it's quite clear that Mr Assange has access to significant means if he wants them," said Riddle, who added that Assange had been accused of crimes of a serious sexual nature.

Riddle said that the case against Assange was not to do with Assange being involved in the publication of thousands of classified US documents. Assange is the editor of whistleblower site Wikileaks.

"This case is not, on the face of it, about Wikipedia (sic)," said the magistrate. "It's about [allegations] of serious sexual offences."

The Wikileaks editor did not respond as the magistrate ordered Assange to be remanded in custody until 14 December, when bail applications will be renewed at the court.

Assange said he would not go to Sweden voluntarily. "I understand [the charges], and I do not consent [to extradition]," said Assange.

Six people had offered sureties to guarantee bail for Assange, including investigative journalist John Pilger, film director Ken Loach, and campaigner Jemima Khan, who each offered £20,000. A further person, who was not named by the court, offered a surety of £80,000.

Loach told ZDNet UK that the decision of the judge had been "very shocking".

"The coincidental nature of the charges [against Assange] and that he has published documents [is remarkable]," Loach said. "It's just bizarre that a person who makes documents available should be treated in this way."

Tricia David, a retired professor of education, and Geoff Sheers, a retired solicitor, also each offered sureties of £20,000 for Assange.

Assange was arrested at around 9.25 on Tuesday morning at a London police station, the court was told. He is accused of unlawful sexual coercion and not wearing a condom with one woman between the 14 and 15 August in Stockholm, and of the rape of a woman on 17 August by having sex with her without a condom while she was asleep.

Wikileaks will continue to publish documents, despite Assange being in custody, Assange's lawyer Howard Stephens told assembled journalists. Wikileaks funding is experiencing difficulties. Paypal, Mastercard, and Visa have all stopped accepting donations to the site, which at the time of writing was accepting payments through a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing centre.

Assange's Swiss bank froze his funds on Monday, worth tens of thousands of Euros, in a move which his lawyers told the court could be contrary to Swiss law.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • Interesting that the timing of the charges, that that PayPal, Visa etc have stopped processing donations AND that his bank account was seized. I would wonder if this charge was selected because its impact... instead of being a real case of sexual assault which is what I had been thinking when I started to read the article.

    That he was being held as well can be pondered further, but without more details of what is the norm and how legit these claims are it makes it hard to interpret the fairness of the being held without bail.
    quentinjs