WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange refused bail after avoiding extradition to US

Julian Assange extradition Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s hopes for freedom have been dashed after a judge refused him bail despite a decision to block his extradition to the United States.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected an application for the 49-year-old to be released with strict conditionals on Wednesday over concern he would abscond.

It follows a decision that he should not be extradited to the US on mental health grounds due to the risk of suicide.

Assange will have to remain in custody as the US government is appealing against Monday’s extradition ruling.

Announcing her bail decision at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Judge Baraitser said: “As a matter of fairness, the US must be allowed to challenge my decision and if Mr Assange absconds during this process they will lose the opportunity to do so.

“Mr Assange still has a huge support network available to him should he again choose to go to ground.”

The decision to refuse Julian Assange bail will be appealed against at the High Court, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief has said.

Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday that the refusal to grant Assange bail was a “great disappointment”.

He said: “We think it (the decision) is unjust and unfair, and illogical when you consider her (the judge’s) ruling two days ago about Julian’s health, which of course is caused a large part because he is being held in Belmarsh prison.

“To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”