U.K. Judge Rejects Assange Bail Request, Citing Flight Risk
Julian Assange will remain in a British prison after a U.K. court denied his request to go free on bail Wednesday, citing the U.S. government's ongoing attempts to extradite Assange to face espionage charges.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser – who gave Assange a court victory earlier this week by rejecting the U.S. extradition request – ruled that Assange must be held in custody while the U.S. government appeals, saying he poses a flight risk.
Assange will remain in Belmarsh prison in south-east London, where he has been held since the spring of 2019. He was arrested after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
"It is extremely disappointing that even though the request for Mr. Assange's extradition to the United States has been denied, he will continue to be held in a maximum security prison in London, under lockdown during a pandemic," Assange's attorney Barry Pollack said after the ruling. He added, "We look forward to the day that he can be reunited with his family."
Baraitser denied Assange's application for bail comes days after she ruled that because of Assange's mental health and the risk of suicide, "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America."
In court Wednesday, Baraitser said that Assange's mental health condition is being sufficiently managed by prison officials and staff, contrary to the views of Assange's legal team and supporters.
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