WikiLeaks' Assange granted bail but Sweden appeals

Assange will be released on £200,000 bond, which several celebrities have committed to providing

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted bail on Tuesday in a London court, but the police will keep his passport and he'll have to wear an electronic tag, according to the BBC.

Assange will also have to adhere to a curfew, which will be monitored via the tagging device.

Swedish prosecutors, who issued the arrest warrant in order to question Assange on rape charges, appealed the bail ruling later in the day on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Assange will remain in custody. The case will now go to the High Court, which will hear it within two days.

A number of celebrities have committed to contributing to Assange's bail, which was set at £200,000 (US$320,000) in Westminster Magistrates Court. He will also have to provide an additional £40,000 in cash. The filmmaker Michael Moore wrote in the Huffington Post that he had posted US$20,000 of his own money for Assange's bail.

A full extradition hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 11, while the extradition process could drag out for a year.

Assange turned himself in to U.K. police last week after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest. He is wanted for questioning related to rape accusations by two women whom Assange admits have sexual relations with in August.

Assange has been imprisoned since Dec. 7 when the Westminster Magistrates Court denied him bail, saying he was a flight risk due to his frequent traveling and loose ties to the U.K. Assange gave a post office box address in Australia when asked for a point of contact.

Assange and his legal team have stated they believe the Swedish prosecutors' pursuit is tied to WikiLeaks' release of U.S. diplomatic cables, which angered the U.S. government but drew praise from others.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is investigating Assange and WikiLeaks. It has been suggested the U.S. could file charges against him under the Espionage Act.

The secret documents are believed to have come from Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, who has been charged by the U.S. Army with mishandling and transferring classified information in connection with the cables and a video of an Apache helicopter shooting civilians in Iraq.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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