Julian Assange to stay in prison after jail sentence ends over absconding fears

By Tim Baker

September 13, 2019 "
Information Clearing House" - Julian Assange will remain in prison after his jail sentence finishes because of fears he may run away.

The WikiLeaks founder was told this morning that he would not be freed when his current term for skipping bail expires on September 22.

Assange, 48, was handed a 50 week jail sentence in May following his seven year stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which ended when he was dragged out of the Knightsbridge property by the police.

Then home secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited to the US over computer-hacking allegations.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard this morning that there were "substantial grounds" for believing that Assange would be at risk of absconding.

The WikiLeaks founder appeared by video-link from HMP Belmarsh wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser told Assange: "You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end.

"When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.

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"Therefore I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so. Perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.

"In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again."

Assange was asked if he understood what was happening, and replied: "Not really. I'm sure the lawyers will explain it."

Another administrative hearing will take place on October 11 followed by a case management hearing on October 21, the court heard.

This article was originally published by "Evening Standard"- -

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Additional reporting by Press Association

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