Julian Assange, the Wikileaks co-founder has been arrested in London and sentenced to a 50-week prison term for breach of bail conditions in the United Kingdom. The Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, handed the Wikileaks co-founder the prison term in what the organization’s editor-in-chief described as an ‘outrage’.
In a bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden on charges of rape and sexual assault, Assange skipped bail in 2012. He was arrested in April in London.
Assange has previously sought asylum from the Ecuador’s embassy in the UK capital where he was welcomed by the then President Rafael Correa. However, after Correa exited office, his successor was not as friendly with Assange seeing him as ‘discourteous and aggressive’ during his 7-year stay inside the country’s embassy. Assange’s asylum was later withdrawn by Ecuador.
During the sentencing, the presiding Judge Deborah Taylor condemned Assange’s behavior saying his stay at the embassy cost the UK taxpayers GBP 16 million and reminding him that he was not above the law.
Outside the Southwark Crown Court, protesters in support of Assange chanted in anger and ‘disgust’ after the sentencing “Freedom of speech; free Julian Assange.”
Also wanted by the United States over the unauthorized release of classified documents in connection with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Assange’s role in the release of the documents made him a target for the US Department of Justice who described charges against him as an act of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion ‘by cracking a password’ with US whistleblower Chelsea Manning who since has served a 7 year jail term.