Julian Assange is to be freed. A British judge, after ruling that he would no longer permit journalists to report ‘live’ on twitter from his courtroom, denied an appeal against Assange’s conditional bail today.
It emerged yesterday that the appeal was pursued by prosecutors in England without co-operation from their Swedish counterparts, whose allegations of sexual assault led to Assange being taken into custody by British police.
Assange denies the allegations, and some suggest that prosecutors in both countries are allowing themselves to be politically influenced. Assange is the founder and coordinator of whistleblower clearing house Wikileaks, whose steady drumbeat of disclosures has embarrassed the U.S. government and others.
His lawyer, Mark Stephens, said he was shocked by British prosecutors’ decision to independently challenge Assange’s release, despite his having been accused of no crime in the U.K.: “They said yesterday that they were acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities … It’s fair to say that this is all a bit fishy.”
So the British claim they were working with the Swedish to appeal Assange’s bail. But the Swedish say they were not involved at all. Curiouser and curiouser.
All for a man who has yet to be charged with a crime. Sure makes me feel uncomfortable about ticking off a democratically elected government. Which is its purpose I expect.