Nine people who put up bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including two members of the British aristocracy and a Nobel Prize winner, were ordered to pay 93,000 pounds on Monday after Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy.
The guarantors - who include Nobel prize-winning biologist John Sulston - are liable for part of the 140,000 pound bail fee they pledged, Westminster Magistrate's Court ruled. They were given until Nov. 6 to pay up.
Assange, whose whistle-blowing website angered the United States by releasing thousands of US diplomatic cables, was arrested in December 2010 on an extradition warrant from Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two women.
He denies wrongdoing and says he fears that if he is extradited to Sweden he could be transferred to the US where he could face criminal charges punishable by death.
The 41-year-old Australian broke the conditions of his bail when he entered the Ecuadorean embassy in June shortly after running out of legal options to avoid being sent to Sweden. He was later granted diplomatic asylum by Ecuador.
Having seen and heard from the sureties, I cannot avoid taking some account of their integrity, Judge Howard Riddle said of the nine guarantors.
I accept that they trusted Mr Assange to surrender himself as required. I accept that they followed the proceedings and made necessary arrangements to remain in contact with him, he said.
However, they failed in their basic duty, to ensure his surrender. They must have understood the risk and the concerns of the courts.
Both this court and the High Court assessed that there were substantial grounds to believe the defendant would abscond, and that the risk could only be met by stringent conditions including the sureties.
Vaughan Smith - one of the nine, who housed Assange for 13 months after his arrest - argued for the entire group in court last week. He had said it should pay no money at all because the case had dragged on for much longer than expected and Assange had not warned the group's members before entering the embassy.
Each guarantor must now pay between 3,500 and 15,000 pounds, having originally pledged between 5,000 and 20,000 pounds. Three submitted details of their financial means, which were taken into consideration by the court.
Nobody wants to lose 12,000 pounds and though my family may now live less comfortably, at least we will be able to live with ourselves, Smith said afterwards.
We believe that we have done the right thing and have no regrets for having supported Julian Assange.”
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Pssst, Julian! Hey, Julian!Oct 09th, 2012 - 05:58 am 0
How are you doing in there?
You sure have some generous friends!
Assange will probably have a major health or mental breakdown and have to be removed to hospital where he will arrested and subsequently deported.Oct 09th, 2012 - 09:22 am 0
Concerning Ecuador Law....some laws are pitiful...try this one on:
Ecuador is a beautiful country with probably the worst possible traffic laws in the World.
There no fault approach to accidents can mean that if a suicidal motor cyclist drives in front of a bus loaded with passengers and the driver accidentally kills the motor cyclist, then the driver will end up in a barred windowless prison for up to 5 years! This could be in Quito, freezing in Winter and sweating in Summer. The traffic prisons offer no amenities so prisoners have to clean their own toilets, buy and cook their own food, etc., etc.
I personally know of an Ecuadorean female lawyer who accidentally killed a person in a road accident and immediately took a taxi to the airport and flew to New York...never to return to Ecuador....so much for Ecuadorian law...moral of the story...NEVER drive in Ecuador !!!
I think the Ecuadoreans have tried to think of every which way to get Assange out of their cramped offices. They asked the UK government if, theoretically, Assange were to be taken ill, could he leave the embassy and if it would be possible for him to be given safe passage to Ecuador. The answer in both cases was that if he sets foot outside the embassy he will be arrested. The UK have an obligation to abide by the extradition to Sweden as all possible legal routes in the UK have been exhausted.Oct 09th, 2012 - 09:45 am 0
Still, Assange had a visit from Lady Gaga last night. Two self-obsessed narcissists in the same room for hours, the parallel conversations must have been fascinating.