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WikiLeaks founder to stay in jail
Wed, 15 Dec 2010 05:05:13 GMT
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A court artist’s impression of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's appearance at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been forced to stay in a British jail after Swedish prosecutors decided to lodge an appeal against a London court ruling to grant him a bail.

Buffeted by allegations of sexual offenses in Sweden, Assange was released from Wandsworth prison in London on Tuesday after a British judge granted his release on a $378,000 bond.

However, he was ordered to remain in jail just a few hours later on grounds that Swedish prosecutors lodged an appeal against the bail, AFP reported.

The appeal, due to be submitted to Britain's High Court, is expected to take up to 48 hours to be heard, but the Swedish move has already stirred the ire of Assange's lawyer, who challenged the reversal of the decision by the British court.

Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens harshly criticized the Swedish prosecutors for lodging an appeal against the bail, saying they are "sparing no expense to keep [Assange] in jail,"

"This is really turning into a show trial,” said Stephens after hearing the Swedish decision. "It's an unfortunate state of affairs given that we were obviously very relieved for Mr. Assange a few hours ago. Given their history of persecution of Mr. Assange, it's perhaps not surprising."

Assange, who faces extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual offenses, is reported to have been very "phlegmatic" over the Swedish decision.

Despite his release on bond, there were a number of strings attached to the ruling which require him to surrender his passport, wear an electronic tag to monitor his movements and report to a local police station every evening.

Assange was taken into custody last week after he surrendered to London police following his arrest warrant.

Initially, the court refused to grant Assange a bail on grounds that in the absence of a permanent address in Britain, he might be tempted to "flee."

Swedish prosecutors are still investigating rape and sexual molestation allegations leveled against Assange by two Swedish women. Assange has strongly denied the accusations.

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