WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be released on bail, a British judge ruled on Wednesday after a request from his lawyer. Although it became clear on Monday that Assange is not yet being extradited to the US, according to the judge he still has reasons to go into hiding.
While the appeal is pending, the judge does not want to proceed with parole.
Assange’s lawyer argued that his client has family in the UK and therefore there is no risk of flight. In addition, the 49-year-old WikiLeaks founder would have no reason to leave the country after Monday’s ruling.
However, lawyers assisting the US government said there is a flight risk and Mexico has already offered him political asylum. According to the Americans, Assange has the means and the intention to flee the country.
On Monday, a court in London ruled that he should not be extradited to the US, which had requested his extradition due to publications on WikiLeaks. According to the judge, the mental health of the whistleblower was endangered.
US government lawyers announced that they would appeal the verdict. After the verdict, Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald wanted his client to be released on bail pending trial.
US wants to sue Assange for espionage
The US wants to prosecute Assange on its own soil for espionage because in 2010 he released hundreds of thousands of classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Assange is extradited, he faces a prison sentence of decades in the US.
In 2012, Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy when he was allowed to await his extradition case to Sweden outside of prison. He then went into hiding there for over seven years. When the embassy showed him the door, he was arrested by the British authorities.