Assange should be free Thursday: lawyer

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Julian Assange's lawyer said Thursday the WikiLeaks founder had been granted bail and should be released from jail later in the day.

"We're expecting Julian to be released sometime later today, or worst case analysis, tomorrow. But we really do expect him to be released today," Mark Stephens said after the High Court in London rejected an appeal against an earlier ruling to grant bail.

"Everyone's working very hard for that," he added. "As you can imagine we're utterly delighted and thrilled with the result."

Stephens noted that the delay in releasing Assange was caused by procedural issues, such as the need to pay 200,000 pounds in cash out of a total of 240,000-pound (283,000-euro, 374,000-dollar) bail money.

Sweden wants Assange to be extradited from Britain to face questioning over allegations of rape and molestation against two women. He denies the accusations.

Assange, 39, was arrested on a Swedish warrant in London on December 7 and won bail on Tuesday, but he was kept in Wandsworth prison in London pending an appeal on behalf of the British lawyers working on behalf of Sweden.

The High Court rejected that appeal Thursday.

Speaking on the steps of the High Court, Stephens said: "We think it was an unneccessary appeal, I think it's unfortunate and it's clearly evidence of a continuing vendetta by the Swedes against Julian Assange."

The lawyer was also asked about the possibility of separate legal proceedings against Assange from authorities in the United States, where an investigation is under way into WikiLeaks' revelations of thousands of secret diplomatic cables.

"We haven't addressed the question of the American legal action or the potential for it," Stephens said.

"There's so many twists and turns in this particular case, it's impossible to say that this is the end of the line," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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