Australian citizen Julian Assange will remain in Belmarsh Prison for now, with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejecting his bail application overnight in London.
Although there are no charges against Mr Assange pending in the UK, and there is a question mark about whether the incoming Biden Government will even pursue the case, the prosecution argued that ‘Mr Assange has the resources and ability to evade justice’.
The lawyer acting for Mr Assange, Ed Fitzgerald QC, said his client had ‘been detained for fifteen months solely for the extradition request. Through this time, the request remains the basis for his detention.
‘Now you have made a ruling of discharging Assange. The natural consequence is that he regains his liberty.’
Magistrate Baraitser responded by saying, ‘Mr Assange still has a reason to abscond.
‘The stringent conditions placed upon him previously were not enough to evade justice. He will remain in custody.’
Stella Morris, Julian Assange’s partner said, ‘This is a huge disappointment, Julian should not be in Belmarsh Prison in the first place.
‘I urge the Department of Justice to drop the charges and the President of the United States to pardon Julian.’
Rebecca Vincent from Reporters Without Borders said, ‘The decision taken today we view as unnecessarily cruel.
‘We fully believe that Julian Assange was targeted for his contributions to journalism. The past ten years he has suffered only because he has published information in the public interest.
‘We call again for his immediate release,’ said Ms Vincent.
Mr Assange will remain in Belmarsh Prison, which is a COVID-19 hotspot, until there is a result in the US extradition appeal.