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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Julian Assange Pleads for Privacy

How ironic. The champion of leaked secret documents has asked for privacy. His lawyers argued that his bail location, Captain Vaughn Smith's Ellingham Hall on the Suffolk/Norfolk border should not be disclosed on the grounds of privacy. But the irony wasn't missed by District Judge Howard Riddle, he dismissed the move and said it would conflict with Assange's commitment to open justice.

And it's now been revealed that he's being kept in prison because of the British authorities and not the Swedish prosecuters. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will go to the high court today to seek the reversal of the decision to free Assange on bail, made on Tuesday. It was previously thought that it was Sweden who had opposed his bail but now we know it came from the British. Assange's lawyers were shocked, it is an unexpected development. The Swedes said they are not allowed to make decisions in Britain, it's up to the British to handle it and said they won't be submitting any new evidence or arguments to the high court hearing today.

Geoffrey Robertson QC was born in Sydney and is a human rights lawyer, academic, author and broadcaster. His assured presence clearly provided his client with an edge on Tuesday. Robertson argued that sex allegations against Assange by two Swedish women should not be taken seriously. "This is not an extremely serious offence. It is arguably not even a rape offence" he said. He reiterated the case had been initially thrown out by a Swedish chief prosecutor in Stockholm and that Assange had been "fully interviewed by Swedish police on August 30 and "denied firmly and fully all the accusations."

The CPS's formal grounds of appeal for the hearing today, will say that Assange must be kept in prison until a decision is made whether to extradite him, which could take months.