Assange fears unfair trial in US


Julian Assange talks to the media at Ellingham Hall

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he has no hope of a fair trial if he is extradited to the US.

The 39-year-old Australian believes the US is preparing to indict him on espionage charges because of the leak of thousands of diplomatic cables.

Currently wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences, which he denies, he was released from prison on bail on Thursday and placed under house arrest.

Asked if he had confidence in receiving a fair and unbiased trial if extradited to the US, he answered: “Absolutely not.”

A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice would say only that there is an “investigation into the WikiLeaks matter”.

The whistleblower left Wandsworth Prison on Thursday when a High Court judge upheld a decision to grant him bail before a full extradition hearing next year.

British lawyers acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities appealed against the original decision, made by a judge at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Strict conditions attached to his bail include residing at Ellingham Hall, a country retreat on the Norfolk-Suffolk border owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of London’s Frontline journalism club.

Assange appeared confident and relaxed as he conducted a series of interviews on Friday, but the former hacker said he is expecting further smears against him, adding: “There’s an allegation that the Swedish prosecution has leaked out selective parts of their file illegally.”

But he said he is now looking forward to spending some time on the sprawling rural estate after his jail release, saying: “I’m going to go out into the country and do some fishing. It makes a very significant change compared to being in a basement in solitary confinement.”

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