A British court sentenced WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks for skipping bail. The activist also faces a court hearing on extradition to Washington where he is wanted for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.”
The Southwark Crown Court in London on Wednesday sentenced Assange to almost a year for “violating bail conditions.”Last month, he was formally convicted of skipping bail in the UK in 2012 when he was wanted over a rape allegation in Sweden (the case was later dropped).
|Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for jumping bail in UK
Judge Deborah Taylor told the journalist that he had used bail to escape the law and expressed disdain for British justice.
The whistleblower also apologized to all who “consider I’ve disrespected them.”
WikiLeaks slammed the sentence as “shocking” and “vindictive,” adding that they have “grave concerns” as to whether Assange will get a fair extradition hearing, scheduled for Thursday.
The executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Trevor Timm, called the charges levelled against the whistleblower in the US “a serious press freedom threat” that “should be vigorously protested.”
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also weighed in, saying it was “deeply concerned” with the prosecution and warning that the conspiracy charges against Assange “could set a dangerous precedent.”
US officials, meanwhile, blasted Assange for revealing classified information. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service” in 2017 when he was the head of the CIA.RT