British judge grants Assange conditional bail

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British judge granted conditional bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a London court on Tuesday, one week after he was arrested over allegations of rape and molestation in Sweden.

However, he will not be released immediately as British lawyers acting for Swedish prosecutors are considering whether or not to appeal the ruling later Tuesday.

District judge Howard Riddle told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London that the 39-year-old Australian will be tagged and subject to a curfew if he is released.

He will have to reside at the country estate of the owner of the Frontline club, a media club where WikiLeaks have based part of their operation, and celebrity supporters have helped put up bail of 240,000 pounds (380,000 euros, 280,000 dollars).

Assange gave his lawyers and journalists in court a thumbs-up as he was taken out to await the deliberations of the lawyers.

News that bail was granted drew cheers from Assange's supporters outside the court building.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Stockholm in August.

He strongly denies the allegations and his lawyers have said they are politically motivated, pointing to the coincidence of the timing with the release of thousands of confidential US diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks.

© 2010 AFP

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