Julian Assange granted conditional bail

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted conditional bail today after appearing in court on an extradition warrant.

The 39-year-old Australian is wanted by prosecutors in Sweden over claims that he sexually assaulted two women.

He was remanded in custody a week ago but his legal team made a successful appeal against the decision, with several well-known backers again offering thousands of pounds in sureties.

Assange was bailed on condition he provide a security of £200,000 to the court and guarantee two further sureties, each of £20,000.

His passport must remain with the police and he cannot apply for international travel, District Judge Howard Riddle said.

He was told he must abide by a curfew and stay at an address in Suffolk.

He will be tagged and must also report to a local police station every evening.

He is due to appear at the same court on January 11.

The Swedish Government has lodged an appeal which is expected to be heard in the next 48-hours. In the meantime, Assange was told to remain in custody.

According to the novelist Tariq Ali, Assange is the victim of a “grotesque” abuse of power.

The celebrated historian and political commentator said it would be “pure vindictiveness” to keep the WikiLeaks founder in prison.

Mr Ali was joined by several famous faces, including John Pilger, Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

Armed with takeaway drinks and sandwiches, they formed a huddle near the courtroom with other supporters and legal representatives.

Journalists who were unable to get inside the court, where some sat on the floor, peered through a window in the door.

Mr Ali said he had come to “show solidarity” and offer a surety for the WikiLeaks founder.

He said: “It is grotesque, what is going on. Someone is accused and the charges are wishy-washy, even in Sweden.

“He has been accused of rape and to extradite him on that basis is grotesque.

“He should be given bail. There is no chance of him absconding. The surveillance systems of Britain are such that they can keep an eye on him wherever he is.

“Whether they decide to extradite him or not, he should be allowed to spend a peaceful Christmas and new year.”

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