Today, Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, received a sentence of 50 weeks in a British jail for jumping bail 7 years ago.
Assange holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London during that time. The Ausralian hacker hid at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for rape and sexual assault charges. The Ecuadorean ambassador requested his removal due to his inability to follow rules.
Judge Deborah Taylor said i her decision, “It is essential to the rule of law that nobody is above or beyond the reach of the law.”
Assange wrote a letter of apology to the court.
“I found myself struggling with terrifying circumstances for which neither I nor those from whom I sought advice could work out any remedy,” he wrote. “I did what I thought at the time was the best and perhaps the only thing that could be done.”
Apology not accepted
The judge, however, cited that Taylor had cost British taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money. Approximately 16 million pounds ($21 million) in his “deliberate attempt to delay justice.”
Assange stood in court with his hands clasped while the sentence was read. His hair nicely combed and wearing a clean suit, he appeared healthier that the day he was removed from the embassy on April 11. His supporters chanted “Shame on you” toward the judge as Assange was led away. He raised his fist in a show of defiance.
Lawyers and representatives for Assange say his biggest fear is extradition from Sweden to the US. There he is wanted for leaking classified documents as well as Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Fears he will be sent to Guantanamo Bay
Assange’s attorney said his client has a “well-founded” fear that he would be mistreated and possibly sent to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.
“It will be a question of life and death for Mr. Assange,” he said.
The US has yet to file extradition paperwork for Assange. They have two months from his arrest date to do so.
Courtroom artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook.