Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment

Julian Assange has been sentenced  to 50 weeks imprisonment in the UK on charges of skipping bail, which he did by holing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. So he has moved from a virtual prison into a real prison.

Reuters: Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in British jail for skipping bail

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British court on Wednesday for skipping bail when he holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for seven years until police dragged him out last month.

The case in Britain arose after Australian-born Assange, 47, was accused by two Swedish women of sexual assault and rape in 2010. Assange fought through the courts to get an extradition order and the preliminary investigation dropped.

Assange sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid an extradition order to Sweden.

His lawyer argued it was an act of desperation to avoid being passed to the United States to face action over the release of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

But handing down what was nearly the maximum possible sentence, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange he had exploited his privileged position to flout the law and express his disdain for British justice.

“Whilst you may have had fears as to what may happen to you, nonetheless you had a choice,” Taylor told Assange, dressed in a black jacket and gray sweatshirt, at Southwark Crown Court.

“It is difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offence.”

And Assange still faces the possibility he will be extradited to the US.

Reuters: U.S. extradition request for Julian Assange to be heard on Thursday

A request by the United States to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information will be heard by a London court on Thursday.

“Julian Assange will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at 1030 tomorrow for ‘violating his bail conditions’ whilst seeking & obtaining political asylum,” WikiLeaks said.

“On Thursday at 10AM there will be a hearing in Westminster Magistrate Court on the US extradition request,” it said.

The U.S. Justice Department said Assange was charged with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American diplomatic communications.

With the defence support he is likely to have this could be a lengthy process.