UK jails Wikileaks founder for 50 weeks

Assange jailed by British court for breaching bail act in 2012.
LONDON: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail by a British court on Wednesday for breaching his bail term in 2012.

He was found guilty of breaching U.K.’s bail act last month after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Assange was arrested after Ecuador’s Embassy in London decided to expel him from their building, ending his almost seven-year long stay.

British police said he was arrested for skipping his bail in 2012 and on behalf of the U.S. due to an extradition warrant.

Later, he was found guilty of breaking his bail terms after failing to surrender to security services by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Assange who was sentenced by the Southwark Crown Court will appear at an extradition hearing tomorrow at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The British judicial authorities will assess the extradition request from the U.S.

Before his arrest, WikiLeaks had said on Twitter that “a high level source within the Ecuadorian state told WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within ‘hours to days’ using the INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext — and that it already has an agreement with the U.K. for his arrest,” referring to documents allegedly implicating corruption by Ecuador’s president.

Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, for nearly seven years since claiming diplomatic asylum in June 2012 after being wanted by Swedish prosecutors for questioning over various alleged sexual offenses.

Sweden since dropped the charges against him, but Assange remained at the embassy, fearing extradition to the U.S. on charges over WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive US government files.

He was supposed to be extradited to Stockholm by British authorities before entering the embassy.

The U.S. authorities allege that Assange conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases and released sensitive national security information online via Wikileaks.

If he is extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange can be jailed for up to 5 years.–AA

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