Today a British court granted bail to Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks who spent the past week in jail. Though, Assange will remain in jail for 2 more days pending an appeal of the bail decision, which Swedish prosecutors said they will appeal. Last Tuesday, Assange turned himself in to UK police after Interpol issued an international warrant for sexual allegations involving Assange in Sweden last August.
Swedish prosecutors have not filed any criminal charges against Assange and seek his extradition for questioning about the accusations. Unless Swedish prosecutors can provide compelling evidence, which they do not appear to have since there is a lack of criminal charges, the decision to grant bail will likely stand and result with Assange’s release from custody on Thursday (see update below). Following his release from custody, Assange must adhere to several ordered stipulations.
First, Assange must pay his bail of $317,000 (£200,000 pounds), as well as provide two other sureties of $32,000 (£20,000). Supporters of WikiLeaks have provided the finances to pay these charges, including American filmmaker Michael Moore who put forth $20,000. Second, Assange must surrender his passport. Third, Assange must wear a tracking device and report to a local police station each evening. Fourth, Assange must obey a curfew. Fifth, Assange must remain under house arrest at a specific residence in Suffolk. If the decision to grant bail stands, Assange would live under these requirements until January 11th, when the next extradition hearing is scheduled.
Meanwhile, the first congressional hearing about the legality of WikiLeaks is also scheduled for Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee will convene at 9:30 a.m. on December 16th for a hearing about the “Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Issues Raised by WikiLeaks.” The hearing will generally discuss how to handle the whistleblowing organization that continues to release classified information about governments around the world.
WikiLeaks has now published previously unreleased diplomatic documents from US embassies for 16 consecutive days. There has been a total of 1,446 documents released to this date, which you can browse here. WikiLeaks has said it possesses 251,287 of these documents and will publish each day until they are all public. In other words, WikiLeaks is averaging a release of 90 documents each day, which means WikiLeaks will publish documents every day until August 2018, ceteris paribus.
Update (Dec. 16th): The decision to grant Assange bail was upheld – resulting with Assange’s release Thursday evening.