WikiLeaks Founder Sentenced to 50 Weeks for Bail-Jumping

LONDON (Reuters) —
Protesters outside Southwark Crown Court at sentencing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Wednesday. (Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

A British judge has sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail in 2012.

Judge Deborah Taylor said Wednesday that Assange merited near the maximum sentence of one year because of the seriousness of his offense.

She rejected his claim for leniency based on the nearly seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Assange stood impassively with his hands clasped while the sentence was read. His supporters in the public gallery chanted “Shame on you” at the judge as Assange was led away.

Assange sought asylum in the South American country’s London embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning for assault and other allegations. On April 11, Assange’s asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes with the Ecuadorian authorities. Police were allowed into the embassy and arrested Assange. In addition to this sentence the case against Assange in Sweden may be reopened.

Earlier, his lawyers argued that he had jumped bail because he was a “desperate man” fearing extradition to the United States.

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