Sweden challenges WikiLeaks founder's bail

Dec. 15, 2010 at 10:25 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Prosecutors plan to argue against bail that would allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be free while fighting extradition to Sweden, officials said.

A British court will hear arguments Thursday from Swedish authorities challenging the decision to grant $310,000 bail to Assange, wanted for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex crimes, The Guardian reported.

Separately, WikiLeaks recently released classified U.S. State Department cables, making them available to several newspapers, including The Guardian.

Assange surrendered to London police last week and was arrested on a European warrant from Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about the allegations. He was granted bail Tuesday, but remained in jail because a lawyer for Swedish prosecutors appealed immediately.

Assange's attorney, Mark Stephen, said his client's backers had raised about half of the cash needed to secure bail.

"We have to come up with ($310,000 in cash) and that is difficult to come by," Stephens told the BBC. "We've got about half of that right now, but of course people will understand that even wealthy people don't keep that kind of money knocking around."

Conditions of Assange's bail require him to stay at a supporter's house, report to police daily and wear an electronic monitoring system. The court also asked for an additional $62,500 that would be paid if he disappears, The Guardian said.

Swedish authorities said they're still concerned that Assange could flee.

"He remains a significant flight risk and no conditions that the court can impose could prevent his flight," attorney Gemma Lindfield, representing Swedish officials, told a Westminster magistrate Tuesday.

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