Free speech on trial: Wikileaks supremo, Julian Assange back in jail as supports sky-rocket around the world… showbiz gurus set to raise millions in support of freedom


Assange in Court: Artist impressionIn an unexpected twist that his lawyer described as having elements of a “show trial”, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was on Tuesday sent back to jail despite being granted bail by a court  earlier in the day. Swedish authorities seems to be hell-bent in  seeking his extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual offences.

Legal representative s of Swedish authority had decided to appeal just as Julian was granted bail by a Westminster Magistrate Court where human right activists and notable celebrities surrounded in solidarity raise a sun of £240000 bail fee .

Now, the  appeal against Julians bail would be lodged at the High Court and  could take up to 48 hours to be heard.

Mr. Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens accused Swedish prosecutors of “sparing no expense to keep him in jail” saying the case was turning into a “show trial”.

“This is really turning into a show trial…but given the history of persecution of Mr. Assange it is perhaps not surprising,” he said.

Asked about Mr. Assange’s reaction, he said: “He is phlegmatic”.

Earlier, Mr. Assange was given bail on cash guarantees of £240,000. A group of his high-profile supporters, including film-maker Ken Loach, activist Bianca Jagger, journalist John Pilger and Jemima Khan, wife of former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan, reportedly offered to put up security for him.

Our earlier report before turn of events as the Wikileaks proprietor was granted bail:The world has risen up in unity to solicit support for Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder and coordinator who has stunned the world with his expose of world hypocrisy as played by powerful countries and organisations.

Wikileaks have made history  exhuming facts about those organisations and countries who are enshrined in frightening double standard, pretence and two-facedness in  dealings with world issues in landmark exposed hypocrisy.

Many  of the organisations and super power countries had played their pranks  to retain supremacy through political game plays and fact- twists to gain stronghold in  political and financial stakes.

The big brother world watch  Wikileaks has shocked the world in the past few weeks dishing out many secrets of powerful countries and organisations through cables release of nations,  who have dished out  lies to the world while pursuing their selfish mission in a world record landmark expose.

As Julian was  arraigned in court on Tuesday,  he was granted conditional bail at with  a group of celebrities determine to launch  world support. A sum of  £240,000 in security and surety was provided for by the celebrities .

Julina’s initial application had been refused and as he attended a second hearing Tuesday  afternoon, a group of celebrities once again united to provide financial backing.

The top  film-maker Michael Moore revealed via his website that he has contributed $20,000 to a fund and the court accepted multiple payments, including a surety of £200,000 and two sums of £20,000, paid in cash up front as securities.

The conditions of Assange’s bail are that he has to wear an electronic tag, surrender his passport and not apply for international travel, remain at an address in Sussex and obey a security imposed curfew.

District Judge Howard Riddle also ordered Assange to report to a local police station every evening.

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

At least  ten distinguished figures were reported to have offered money towards the surety. It is unclear exactly who comprises that ten, but leading celebs,  Jemima Khan, John Pilger and Ken Loach were all present at court to display solidarity.

Bianca Jagger, who attended in her capacity as a human rights campaigner, confirmed after the hearing that she had not provided any money.

‘I am very concerned that this case is becoming politicised,’ she told the media.

‘If there are valid accusations against him then let them be heard.

‘I don’t agree with everything he has done but the most important thing in law is justice, due process and freedom of expression.’

Film director Ken Loach said: ‘If the Swedish government oppose bail it will show there is some vindictive element beyond this case.’

Socialite Jemima Khan, who earlier offered a surety on behalf of Assange, said: ‘It’s great news. I can hear them all cheering outside.’

Novelist Tariq Ali said: ‘I’m very pleased that he is out. I think the extradition charges should now be dealt with in the same way.

‘His barrister made the same point, that this is not rape under English law and there is absolutely no reason for extradition.

‘We are delighted he is out and he should never have been locked up in the first place’

Author Yvonne Ridley said: ‘It is a victory for common sense. If he had been refused bail, it would have meant the court had become a political arena.’

Gavin MacFadyen, of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, said: ‘I am very pleased and it is about time.
‘We do not know what the prosecution will do now. And there is still a possibility of an appeal.’

Prior to the hearing today Michael Moore had called for supporters to attend a demonstration outside court.

It said: ‘If you’re reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.’

Many people took up the invitation and protested outside the court with banners and signs, while some even brandished copies of the current edition of Time Magazine, which features Assange on its cover.

The scene outside the court was one of controlled bedlam as the protesters and police mixed with a scrum of international media.

The crowds made the small, staired entrance to the court almost impassable.

Dozens of police officers corralled a vocal and diverse protest behind metal fencing on the other side of the road.

A squad of officers helped celebrity Jemima Khan as she walked into court amid chaotic scenes to again offer a cash surety, as was the case with veteran journalist and campaigner John Pilger.

Among those leading the protest were gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and Lindsey German of the Stop the War campaign group.

Some demonstrators wore masks representing comic book hero V, from V for Vendetta, and others used scarves to conceal their identity.

Many carried placards mocking the British and Swedish authorities as well as black and white images of Assange.

One read: ‘Sweden, puppets of the US’, another said ‘There is something rotten in the state of Sweden’ and many said ‘Exposing war crimes is not a crime’.

Others gave out leaflets campaigning for an end to the ‘unfair’ European Arrest Warrant and outlining support for the free flow of information.

As the man himself arrived in a prison van, photographers rushed to the side of the van to snap pictures of him through the windows, resulting in the image above.

As that picture shows, being in custody is no bar to Assange getting messages out through the media.

Earlier today he backed the cyber attacks on Visa, Mastercard and PayPal from his prison cell, branding the companies ‘instruments of U.S. foreign policy’.

He gave a written statement to his mother, Christine, when she visited him in London where he is in custody fighting extradition to Sweden for alleged sex offences.

Internet activists launched ‘Operation Payback’ to avenge WikiLeaks against those perceived to have obstructed its operations by refusing to process payments to the website.

The campaign temporarily brought down the websites of credit card firms Visa and MasterCard, as well as that of PayPal and the Swedish government, last week.

Assange’s statement said: ‘We now know that Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and others are instruments of U.S. foreign policy.

‘It’s not something we knew before.

‘I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks.’

The statement was a response to a request from an Australian TV network who asked Christine Assange to put one question to her son during her visit; ‘Was it worth it?’

Censorship: Defiant Julian Assange inside Security Van as free speech is put on trial
Defiant Julian Assange inside Security Van as free speech is put on trial

‘My convictions are unfaltering,’ Assange’s statement continued.

‘I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them.

‘If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct.’

Christine Assange defended her son and said both were heartened by international support for him.

‘I told him how people from all over the world, all sorts of countries were standing up with placards and screaming out for his freedom and justice and he was very heartened by that,’ she said.

‘As a mother I am asking the world to stand up for my brave son.’

Meanwhile, Assange will make a fresh appeal to be granted bail when he returns to court today.

He is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a second hearing this afternoon and if Assange is denied bail a second time he is expected to appeal at the High Court.

The former hacker has provoked fury among international governments with his disclosure of 250,000 secret U.S. cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

Assange was accused this year of sexual misconduct by two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers during a stay in Sweden and turned himself in to Scotland Yard detectives last week.

He denies the allegations, which include rape and molestation in one case and molestation and unlawful coercion in a second, which he has said stem from a dispute over ‘consensual but unprotected sex’.

His legal team has claimed Swedish prosecutors have been put under political pressure to restart their inquiry to help silence and discredit Assange.

The decision to remand him in custody came despite the offer of a £180,000 surety – from backers including John Pilger, Jemima Khan and Ken Loach – on the grounds there was a risk Assange would fail to surrender.

For his second director Michael Moore revealed his support by posting his witness statement to the court, offering $20,000 in surety, on his website, along with a detailed explanation of his reasons for doing so.

He described Assange as ‘a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism.’

Assange and his lawyers have voiced fears that U.S. prosecutors may be preparing to indict him for espionage after the WikiLeaks website published the secret U.S. documents.

Senior politicians have said WikiLeaks has jeopardised United States national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.

Assange Lawyer, Geofery Robertson

Picture here: Assange’s barrister Geoffrey Robertson is representing him at the hearing

According to his lawyer, Assange has not been handed any of his mail since he was jailed, with even his legal letters failing to reach him.

Mark Stephens, who is representing him, said: ‘Many hundreds of people have written to him and the authorities at Wandsworth Prison have not yet given him his letters, including legal letters.’

The only letter to reach him during the week he has spent in the prison’s segregation unit was a slip telling him that a copy of Time magazine sent to him had been destroyed as the cover bore his photo, Mr Stephens said.

‘He has absolutely no access to any electronic equipment, no access to the outside world, no access to outside media,’ he said.

‘Time magazine sent him a copy of their most recent edition with a compliments slip. The prison destroyed the whole magazine.’

The American news publication pictured Assange on the front with an image of the US stars and stripes flag gagging him.

The former hacker has been on 23.5-hours-a-day ‘lockdown’ in the south west London prison, taking his meals in his cell, his lawyer said.

He is kept under surveillance on infrared video.

A prison source said Assange was being treated like any other inmate held in the segregation unit, which is where he had requested to be.

The case has become an international cause celebre as governments weigh up the damage to their reputations with the right to freedom of speech.

Around 15 supporters of the Justice for Assange Campaign gathered outside the Swedish Embassy in central London yesterday, wearing masks bearing Assange’s face and gagging themselves with US flags.

Slogans on their banners included ‘political prisoner’, ‘gagging the truth’ and ‘honey trapped in Sweden’.

The London-based campaign group was set up by a group of media workers after Assange was arrested.

Documentary film-maker Sharon Ward said: ‘We felt we had to do something. We owe a lot to what WikiLeaks are doing today.’

She claimed that the US was behind the arrest, and was concerned that it could result in Assange facing charges there.

‘I do think it’s politically motivated and I think they are just trying to get hold of him any way they can,’ she said.

‘It’s quite well documented that the US are desperately trying to invent charges for him.’

She added: ‘I think back-door extradition is going to happen here.’

A ComRes poll for CNN found more than four out of 10 British people (44 per cent) believe the charges are an excuse to get Assange into custody so the Americans can prosecute him for releasing secret diplomatic papers.

The same percentage said they believed he should be sent to Sweden to face questioning when ComRes interviewed 2010 adults online between December 10 and 13.

Assange’s court appearance comes as the latest WikiLeaks releases reveal U.S. concerns that the UK was struggling to cope with homegrown extremism in the wake of the July 7 bomb attacks in London.

They also revealed British police helped ‘develop’ evidence against Madeleine McCann’s parents as they were investigated by Portuguese authorities looking into their daughter’s disappearance.

Source: Mail On Line.