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WikiLeaks founder Assange freed on bail - TV

RIA Novosti

19:34 14/12/2010 LONDON, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was freed on bail on Tuesday by the London City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, Sky News TV channel said.

Judge Howard Riddle freed Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has provoked U.S. rage by releasing diplomatic documents, on a $315,000 bail until the next hearing on January 11, 2011.

The WikiLeaks founder was released on bail after his lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, gave Judge Riddle a temporary address where Assange would stay.

The United States could soon press espionage charges against Assange for authorizing the disclosure of secret U.S. diplomatic and military reports, his lawyer said last week.

World leaders and diplomats have downplayed the impact of the leak of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks site, but many have questioned the benefit of the project, alleging that some of the leaks could "threaten lives."

Assange was arrested in London on December 7. His extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted on sex assault charges, is pending. Assange denies the allegations and is fighting against extradition, while his lawyers express fears that he could be then extradited to the United States, where Assange could face the death penalty for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.

A source in the Kremlin said Assange should be nominated for the Nobel Prize.

The 39-year-old Australian currently tops an online poll for Time Person of the Year. The choice will be made by the editors on Wednesday.

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