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U.S. says uninvolved in court proceedings against WikiLeaks founder

RIA Novosti

06:37 17/12/2010 WASHINGTON, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is not involved in court proceedings underway in Britain against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the U.S. Department of State said.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has provoked U.S. rage by releasing diplomatic documents, was released on $375,000 bail on Thursday upon a decision from London's High Court.

"Look, there's a legal proceeding underway in Britain, and we are obviously monitoring it. But we [the United States] did not have any involvement in it," Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley told a daily press briefing.

The high-ranking official also said that Assange is unlikely to disappear once he was released on bail.

"Britain is a nation of laws. He's been released on bail. I believe there'll be future court proceedings where he will be expected to appear. And like I say, we are not involved," Crowley added.

Under the bail conditions Assange must wear an electronic tag, report to police every day and observe a curfew. He is also obliged to stay at the Norfolk mansion of WikiLeaks supporter Vaughan Smith.

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 the 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.

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