WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange to be sentenced for skipping UK bail


WikiLeaks founderJulian Assangeis facing a court in London on Wednesday to be sentenced for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden over a rape allegation.

Defiantly raising his fist as he arrived at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, Assange could receive a maximum sentence of a year in prison.

A judge at an earlier hearing said the 47-year-old hacker’s offence “merits the maximum sentence”.

He faces a separate court hearing on Thursday over a US extradition request on charges of conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system.

Assange had enjoyed asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, but Ecuador evicted him on April 11.

A bedraggled and sickly looking Assange was dragged out of the building in theUKcapital by officers and bundled into a police van after the South American country abruptly revoked his asylum.

The Australian national, 47, was initially arrested for breaching bail terms and was later found guilty before a London court.

Assange skipped bail in 2012 to avoid extradition toSwedenover allegations ofsexual assault.

The judge said Assange displayed the “behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”.

Police said they had been “invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorean government’s withdrawal of asylum”.

Assange was arrested upon arrival at a police station on behalf of theUnited Statesafter it requested his extradition, police added.

US federal prosecutors meanwhile charged him with computer hacking and aiding whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which they said carries a potential five-year prison term.

Speaking to reporters outside the court after Assange’s arrest,WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said the case sets a dangerous precedent, and that Assange may face even more charges if he is delivered to the US.

“Anyone who wants to press to be free should consider the implications of this case. If they will extradite a journalist to the US, then no journalist will be safe.”

“There is no assurance that there won’t be additional charges when he is on US soil,” Hrafnsson added.

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