Julian Assange to reapply for bail

Julian Assange - WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, is filing for bail for the second time in London.

He is currently being held in Britain over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden, which he denies.

Assange’s lawyers will make the application on his behalf on Tuesday after he was denied bail last week.

The 39-year-old Australian handed himself in to British police last week after Sweden issued a European arrest warrant.

The WikiLeaks founder has provoked US fury by publishing secret diplomatic cables.

Assange was accused in August of sexual misconduct by two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers during his stay in Sweden.

A Swedish prosecutor wants to question him about the accusations, although the chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, cancelled a previous arrest warrant on the grounds that there was no “reason to suspect that he committed rape”.

Assange is alleged to have sexually molested one woman in Sweden by ignoring her request to use a condom when having sex with her.

Another woman alleged that Assange had sex with her without a condom while she was asleep.

The crime Assange is suspected of is the least severe of three categories of rape, carrying a maximum of four years in jail.

Assange was remanded in custody at an initial British court hearing last week. He has voiced fears along with his lawyers that US prosecutors may be preparing to indict him for espionage after embarrassing leaks by his website of hundreds of a trove of 250,000 secret US documents.

“I came to Sweden as a refugee publisher involved with an extraordinary publishing fight with the Pentagon, where people were being detained and there is an attempt to prosecute me for espionage,” Assange said.

The US justice department has been looking into a range of criminal charges, including violations of the 1917 Espionage Act, that could be filed in the WikiLeaks case.

The classified cables have attracted worldwide media coverage, embarrassing the United States and other countries.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer has said he would fight any attempt to extradite his client.

At last week’s court hearing in London, senior district Judge Howard Riddle said there were “substantial grounds” to believe Assange could abscond if granted bail.

John Pilger, prominent Australian journalist; Ken Loach, British film director and Jemima Khan, British socialite, all offered to put up sureties to persuade the court that Assange would not abscond.
Source: Aljazeera

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