Sweden confirms Assange court bid


Julian Assange leaving City of Westminster Magistrates' Court and being taken back to jail

Swedish authorities will appeal against the decision to grant bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the High Court on Thursday, court officials said.

The 39-year-old whistleblower, who is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences, was granted bail at a court hearing on Tuesday after supporters agreed to post a £200,000 cash deposit.

But in a dramatic turn of events, he was told he would remain behind bars after Swedish authorities said they would fight his release ahead of a full extradition hearing next year.

The appeal was lodged after District Judge Howard Riddle told Assange he could be released from Wandsworth Prison in south west London on condition he reside at the agreed address of a former British Army officer.

Captain Vaughan Smith, founder of the journalists’ Frontline Club, offered to house the 39-year-old Australian at his estate in Suffolk. But he admitted after the hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court that harbouring the former hacker could put his own safety at risk.

Assange has made powerful enemies around the world as his website published 250,000 highly-sensitive United States diplomatic cables. He has received death threats and has spent the past week in solitary confinement amid fears he could be attacked.

Asked if he could now be a target, Capt Smith said: “If I do, I do. I have still got to make a stand.”

In a further sign of the security fears for those close to Assange, his mother Christine was accompanied by plain-clothes bodyguards when she attended court on Tuesday.

Politicians in the United States have suggested Assange should be put on trial for treason and face the death penalty.

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, called for him to be hunted down like the al Qaida leadership.

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