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Assange supporters forfeit bail money

Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

LONDON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's supporters must fork over bail money forfeited after he sought asylum in London's Ecuadorean Embassy, a judge ruled Monday.

The court said the payment guarantees, by individuals called sureties, must be made within a month by nine of Assange's friends and backers who pledged 140,000 pounds ($224,448) in 2010 to assure he would abide by bail conditions during a failed legal challenge to extradition proceedings brought by Swedish authorities.

Assange, a citizen of Australia, faces allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden, and violated his bail conditions in June when he took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Monday.

In announcing the ruling at Westminster Magistrates' Court, chief magistrate Howard Riddle said he accepted the sureties "acted in good faith," but the bail system would be undermined if the cash they put up was not forfeited.

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