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Assange bailed by London court

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 14, IRNA -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was bailed Tuesday, a week after being detained in London on a European Arrest Warrant relating to sexual assault claims in Sweden that date back to August.

The detention of the 39-year old Australian has been linked with attempts in the US to close his whistleblowing website, but giving evidence to MPs Tuesday, Home Secretary Theresa May denied that Washington has made any representation about his arrest.

Bail was granted amid cheers from inside Westminster magistrates’ court, packed with reporters, and from protesters outside the building, calling for charges to be dropped.

Over £200,000 was offered in surety from ten international public figures, while his lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, an eminent counsel, involved in many landmark cases of constitutional, criminal and media law, suggested his client could be electronically tagged.

Assange, who is due next to appear in court on January 11, was initially refused bail following a tightening of a legal noose around WikiLeaks after the website started to publish extracts from over 250,000 secret US embassy cables.

Last week, Swiss bank, PostFinance, announced it had frozen his accounts worth 31,000 euros on a technicality about his residence, while several internet companies including PayPal and Amazon also ended WikiLeaks’ services.

Assange, who has denied charges, has said that he declined to return to Sweden to face prosecutors because he feared he would not receive a fair trial.

He has told friends he is increasingly convinced the US is behind Swedish prosecutors' attempts to extradite him for questioning on the assault allegations.

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