back to article London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

Julian Assange has failed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to get out of prison – after a judge ruled that his previous antics made him a flight risk. The former WikiLeaker-in-chief made a legal bid to be released on bail from HM Prison Belmarsh in southeast London because, he said, he was at increased risk from the …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "costing his chums £93,500 as he did so"

    And that, in a nutshell, is Assange.

    A parasite.

    Keep him in jail.

    For his own safety, of course.

    1. Mike the FlyingRat
      Big Brother

      Re: "costing his chums £93,500 as he did so"

      Hmmm.

      He absconded from Sweden before they could arrest him, then fled to the Embassy when his appeals failed and now wants out?

      Hmmm what's the odds he would do a runner?

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: "costing his chums £93,500 as he did so"

        He asked the authorities if he could leave including the original prosecutor and they all said ‘fine’. Then after he left another prosecutor reopened the case.

        You are unfortunately displaying your ignorance. Please cover it up.

        1. Mike the FlyingRat
          Boffin

          Re: "costing his chums £93,500 as he did so"

          @Muscleguy

          Bzzzt!

          Sorry but if you actually paid attention to the first appeal hearing, that claim was completely debunked when his Swedish lawyer was questioned under oath.

          He admitted that he stalled the Police from bringing him in for his interview where they would charge him.

          (That's how they charge people in Sweden. ) Assange fled while his lawyer stalled the Police.

          This is actually very well known and part of the court documents. The lawyer's text messages showed that he dodged the police claiming he was never notified.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the last paragraph is a bit harsh. I also think Assange is a nob but he shouldn't get extradited as the stated aim of wikileaks is needed these days because no one in the main stream media dares to challenge those in power anymore.

    1. Zolko
      Holmes

      I also think Assange is a nob

      why ? Do you know him ? If it's only because it has been repeated over-and-over by some media, don't you think it could be an organised smear campaign ? Did he get the chance to tell his version of the story ? Actually, what IS the story about (the rape thing was bogus from the start and the Swedes dropped it anyway) ?

      Insulting someone should at minimum bear some justification.

      1. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

        @Zolko

        He shit on his mates that put up money for his bail for a start. Would you trust him?

        Then because he is a coward he imposed his own prison sentence instead of proving his innocence.

        Extradite him. NOW. Wikileaks will surive without him. Well it has done so far hasn't it?

        Cheers… Ishy

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Zolko

          That's not how justice works. I agree he should have to prove his innocence (or be found guilty) for the other crimes. It's a real slippery slope getting justice by other means.

          Also I know he isn't wikileaks but get with the program, this is all about setting an example to other people who won't even consider helping whistle blowers. It's called fear and it should not be used by governments on the people.

          1. Imhotep

            Re: @Zolko

            No, he does not have to prove his innocence. That is assumed until proven otherwise.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Zolko

              I am afraid he does have to prove his innosence in this case. He is being made an example of - to stop other whistle blowers. In any event, innocent or not - he is going down.

              1. Imhotep

                Re: @Zolko

                In the UK and the US the prosecution has to prove the defendant's guilt to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not need to prove their innocence.

                1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

                  Re: @Zolko

                  Plea bargaining in the US puts that claim into question.

                2. John Lilburne

                  Such a quaint view ...

                  ... in the US 90% of those charged with a federal crime plead guilty. Clue 95% of those charged aren't guilty but they generally plead to some lesser charge. Risk 30 years for X or plead guilty to Y and do 6 months probation. Only 2% actually go to court and of those the majority are convicted.

                  https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/11/only-2-of-federal-criminal-defendants-go-to-trial-and-most-who-do-are-found-guilty/

                  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
                    Facepalm

                    Re: Such a quaint view ...

                    Dare I say it, an appealing vies of the numbers. It might be summarised as “plead guilty to X, whether you dit it or not, or contest Y against massive odds’.

          2. jmch Silver badge

            Re: @Zolko

            "That's not how justice works"

            How justice works is if a judge is convinced there is reasonable evidence to proceed, he gets charged and put on trial. He doesn't unilaterally decide he is innocent and escape.

            I agree the US charge is spurious and intended as a warning for whistleblowers. But since its easier to extradite from UK than Sweden, his grounds for not even accepting to be interviewed about the Swedish rape case were spurious.

            He shouldn't be extradited to US, but I agree with the judge here, he is a flight risk using corona as an excuse

            1. Doctor Evil

              Re: @Zolko

              "How justice works is if a judge is convinced there is reasonable evidence to proceed, he gets charged and put on trial. He doesn't unilaterally decide he is innocent and escape."

              Well, that's a bit of a subjective standard, isn't it? There's evidence and then there's "evidence". There are judges and then there are judges (east Texas, anyone?). Yes, there is certainly the appearance of due process ...

          3. DarkRud

            Re: @Zolko

            Is it (with the exception of various dictatorships) more common that the guilt of the defendant must be proven and not the other way around?

            1. Imhotep

              Re: @Zolko

              Perhaps someone better informed can clarify, but doesn't France require an individual to prove their innocence?

        2. Mike the FlyingRat
          Boffin

          @idiottaxpayer Re: @Zolko

          Prove his own innocence?

          Wow. You'd think if he was innocent he would has stayed in Sweden and faced his accusers. Instead he did a runner with the help of his lawyer who probably figured it would blow over and he'd be forgotten. Only he didn't count on how much of a prat Julian really was.

          The only people who see Julian as a martyr are the same boys and girls who live in their parent's basement and believe all of the boogeyman conspiracy theories out on the internet.

          This was never about Wikileaks. The US want him because there's allegedly evidence that he helped Manning with the theft. This was produced at Manning's Article 32 hearing, however during the trial, Manning plead guilty to those counts so that the evidence never came to see the light of day at trial.

          This has nothing to do with the distribution of the material. The Ellsberg SCOTUS decision already set a high bar for that and the US DoJ isn't going to risk raising it further.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

            The "prove your own innocence" is the term used by the person I was replying to. Please try to keep up I know it's difficult when there are multiple comments but it really isn't that difficult. As for Sweden the whole case was questionable however I agree he should have stayed and faced whatever the court and jury decided. The US want him to make an example the same as they always do, maybe they could make an example of the killer that fled the UK or is justice a one way street?

            1. grizewald

              Re: @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

              Sweden has an inquisitorial justice system, not an adversarial one.

              Therefore, there is no jury. The guilt of the accused is assessed by the magistrates who judge the case. As Sweden's magistrates are politically appointed, it has a well deserved reputation for its courts being anything but impartial when the case in question has political ramifications. What they did to the founders of The Pirate Bay is an excellent example of the problem.

              Sweden is also known for happily handing over two "persons of interest" to the CIA for rendition to a black prison, regardless of the fact that the two people had Swedish citizenship. No courts were involved in the process.

              Having been set up by two young women who are lifelong members of the social democrat party here in Sweden and seeing that the two girls would be represented by a friendly lawyer who is a senior member of the same party, I think Assange had every right to fear that he would be handed over to the USA without so much as a word if he stayed in Sweden.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

                "Having been set up by two young women who are lifelong members of the social democrat party here in Sweden and seeing that the two girls would be represented by a friendly lawyer who is a senior member of the same party, I think Assange had every right to fear that he would be handed over to the USA without so much as a word if he stayed in Sweden."

                Exactly that.

                You may like or not Assange, but what is sure is he has been set up. Given how badly the US want him, how bad or difficult is it for CIA to set up a couple of dodgy girls on him in an alleged, unproved, sexual assault ?

                Probably only 10-20 kUSD which we all know is nothing for an intelligence agency ...

              2. Mike the FlyingRat
                Boffin

                @grizewald Re: @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

                Hardly.

                Did you ever read the interviews Assange gave in the UK while appealing his extradition?

                Did you actually follow his extradition?

                He actually admitted to what the Swedes considered rape.

                And here's the thing.

                He wouldn't have been jailed, but booted from the country. Not to mention that the US didn't even have a case for extradition at that time. (Check your facts)

                He would have been blocked from becoming a citizen of Sweden and would have most likely been compelled to get tested for AIDs or an STD then booted from the country.

                If the US wanted Assange, it would have been far easier to get him from Australia than to try and get him from Sweden. This too is a well known fact. Assange's own criminal history in Australia would have made it far more simpler along with the 5 eyes friendship.

                If you're going to believe in conspiracy theories, at least have the common sense to figure one out to be more realistic.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @grizewald @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

                  "If the US wanted Assange, it would have been far easier to get him from Australia than to try and get him from Sweden. This too is a well known fact. Assange's own criminal history in Australia would have made it far more simpler along with the 5 eyes friendship."

                  Not really, because when a state sues you for, quoting, "engaging in unprotected sexual activity with them that violated the scope of their consent" or because one woman was "asleep during the activity" (WTF, really ??? She wasn't aware something was happening ????), you know full well you're screwed. No way to prove you're innocent. You're guilty on the sole terms of your opponents. Yep, guilty unless you have no way to be proved innocent.

                  And the numbers still stand: a couple of grands for 2 girls that want easy money with the legal system. I could probably find 200 of them anywhere that will just do that if paid ...

                  I'm not a specialist of Australia legal system, but I presume it's not as shit as the Sweden system for those matters.

                  I'd be the US, I would have gone into the Sweden loopholes to get him ...

                  1. Mike the FlyingRat
                    Boffin

                    @AC Re: @grizewald @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

                    Clearly you haven't been following the facts of the case, or even read the transcripts from his appeal(s).

                    Nor have you done research on the EAW and the 32 counts which are not reciprocal, where the statute in country A (charging country) does not have to match the law in the country where said person is being extradited from.

                    Had you, you would have seen that rape was one of those charges. (IIRC, #26 but I could be wrong).

                    And you clearly don't know anything about international law, or even what is meant by 5 eyes.

            2. Mike the FlyingRat
              Boffin

              @AC ... Re: @idiottaxpayer @Zolko

              Son, put down that crack pipe.

              Back in the early 70's there was a SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the the US) where the NYT was being sued byt the US Government for publishing the Ellsberg papers. Very, important case, because it gave a shield to the paper because the court felt that the need for the public to know was greater than the law the NYT was breaking.

              Fast forward to Assange. Enough people in the press claimed Assange to be a 'citizen journalist'. While this could be debated, it would be enough to give any administration pause to charge Assange for publishing the leaks.

              If you followed the case, during Manning's Article 32 hearing, there was evidence presented that Assange helped Manning during the breaking and facilitated the theft. This never came to trial because Manning plead guilty to those counts. Fast forward to today, Manning was jailed for contempt of court. IIRC this was due to Manning refusing to testify against Assange. Manning even went as far as to be forced to go on suicide watch during this incarceration.

              There's definitely more to the story, like Assange hiring a lawyer to follow Manning's court martial. Not to assist Manning but to protect Assange. (This angered a few of Assange's followers who donated money to help Manning)

              So if you want to try and say its about the publication of stolen documents... Its not.

        3. Zolko
          Facepalm

          @ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

          "He shit on his mates ... Would you trust him? ... he is a coward"

          you are a clueless moron (why would it be important whether I trust him or not ? Trust him for what ?) who accuses without proof. No wonder you had been banned from ElReg.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

            Let's just look at the question that responded to. As you were part of this thread and I wasn't, one could reasonably expect you to know these things, but evidently you do not.

            The original comment insulted him. It didn't make opinions on his guilt or innocence; it just insulted him generally.

            You responded, offended at the insult, and asked for grounds. At that point, you understood it to be an insult.

            The reply stated grounds for the insult, namely the betrayal of the friends who paid his bail. The one who wrote that clearly thought that indicated a reprehensible attitude, justifying the insult.

            You respond to that justification and suddenly seem confused. The part that has drawn some of your ire is the question "Would you trust him?". You don't understand why this question was asked. It asks you if you find him trustworthy. The asker you're replying to clearly doesn't, and thinks this untrustworthiness justifies the original insult. The asker wants to see if you also find him untrustworthy and now agree to the insult, find him untrustworthy but still don't agree to the insult, or find him trustworthy. It seems like a rather clear question to me. Now that you understand one another, you can continue the screaming match when you are ready.

            1. Mike the FlyingRat

              @AC Re: @ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

              The insult is attempting to read in to the idea that Assange is some sort of hero and that he was being set up. He was a prat who couldn't be bothered to wear a raincoat or understand that a sleeping woman can't consent to having sex and that while she may have consented to sex while her partner wears a condom. she may not consent to unprotected sex.

              If you followed his case and read the transcript from the first extradition hearing. Any theory about this being a setup goes out the window. His Swedish lawyer's testimony sinks him along with the arguments from his defense team. It goes down hill during the next two appeals.

              Then there's the actual theft. Manning's article 32 hearing reveals motive why the US government may want Assange, yet this evidence doesn't get used at Trial because Manning plead guilty to the charges where the evidence would have been exposed and argued in front of a jury.

              There is so much more, that if you bothered to actually look at the facts and not make assumptions over someone's alleged political beliefs and allegations of a setup with no actual proof... you would come to the simple conclusion is that Assange is a delusional twat.

        4. GBolder

          Re: @Zolko

          There's not been much in the media about the trial so you might be forgiven for thinking it's just another day; the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute clearly thinks there's something very wrong with the treatment of the accused and the way the trial is being conducted - https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=c05c57ee-1fee-47dc-99f9-26824208a750. I suggest you read Craig Murray's recent articles as an honourable journalist actually present in court - https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

        5. Bernard M. Orwell

          Re: @Zolko

          "Extradite him. NOW."

          On what grounds?

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        ..don't you think it could be an organised smear campaign ?

        or it could be an organised PR campaign on the part of team Assange. On which point, from the article-

        ..which is obviously highly dangerous for someone who is susceptible."

        Not obvious to me why Assange would be any more susceptible to Covd than any other prisoner. Or if his current isolation arrangements might be safer than those on the outside. But seems like a variation on the previous claim that being in prison meant he was being denied medical treatment. Weinstein's had heart surgery, and now apparently Covid, and is being treated..

        Did he get the chance to tell his version of the story ?

        As the Eye would say, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. There have been news & magazine articles, books, movies, statues.. He's told many versions of his story.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      When has Wikileaks EVER challenged Trump? You can claim they were all about challenging those in power before Trump became president, repeatedly posting leaks from inside the US government and then the DNC and Clinton's campaign.

      The mainstream media has done plenty to "challenge those in power" as far as Trump goes, they are constantly digging up more malfeasance, to the point that people have just become numb to it. Maybe you think they could do more, but Wikileaks sure isn't going to lead the charge there.

      Despite all the stuff the NYT, WSJ, Wapo etc. have found or had leaked to them, Wikileaks has been utterly silent when it comes to releasing any information that makes Trump or his administration look bad. If you think they are a neutral "against all those in power" player you are living in a fantasy world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I guess they feel they're not needed at the moment. What with Trump doing everything he can to make himself look bad they're kind of redundant...

      2. Mike the FlyingRat
        Mushroom

        @DougS

        The MSM has gone after Trump since he took the oath of office.

        Why? Because he did the one thing he wasn't supposed to do. Win the election.

        Love him or hate him, he's had a target on his back and when you actually look at the claims and evidence, it doesn't stand up to the light of day.

        Trump is Trump. At the end of the day, he's showing he's a better POTUS than Clinton could have ever hoped to be and has reversed a lot of Obama's mistakes.

        The WSJ has been probably the most neutral paper when it comes to Trump. And I've been a subscriber to the WSJ for over 30 years.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: @DougS

          To the extent that this is true (which is not very far, but it has a kernel of truth), it's worth remembering that the same was broadly true of the last occupant: the MSM went after Obama since he took the oath of office, for the precisely the same reasons!

          It's what the media does.

          Sure, Fox is sycophantic towards Trump and was/is hostile to Obama, but I'm have a hard time remembering when Obama got the full sycophant treatment from the allegedly left-wing media (drone strikes, etc.)

          It is entirely possible that some of the "going after Trump" stuff is caused by, I dunno, stuff Trump does / does not do.

          And to those who applaud Assange for wikileaks: compare and contrast with the way Snowden disclosed his leaks, notably avoiding naming people, unlike Assange who jeopardize people by dumping without editing out extraneous material (which is what the media does.).

          1. Bernard M. Orwell

            Re: @DougS

            "compare and contrast with the way Snowden disclosed his leaks"

            And equally how much the US would like to get hold of him too, but for the fact that extradition from Russia isn't quite so unilaterally convenient.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @DougS

          I've got a bridge to sell you.

        3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          Re: @DougS

          MtFR» Trump is Trump. At the end of the day, he's showing he's a better POTUS than Clinton could have ever hoped to be and has reversed a lot of Obama's mistakes.

          I know that I'm not supposed to feed trolls but I shall anyway.

          Define 'better'. What metrics are you using? One has to be good at something. Clinton & Trump were both impeached and let off by a partisan Senate. They both have brought shame upon the office of president, lowered trust among US voters and been detrimental to the US political system. They both should have been forced to leave office and let their VPs take over.

          Clinton & Obama are Democrats and Trump is nominally a Republican and one side will never, ever admit that the other is competent.

          Where Clinton and Trump are polar opposites is the topic of international trade. Clinton greatly encouraged while Trump is far more protectionist.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Erm releasing leaks where the government of the united states has done wrong. I think you are confusing the puppet presidents with those who have the actual power. I really don't understand how people don't understand that the government and what it does has very little to do with elected representatives.

    3. moiety Silver badge

      Not convinced about that. I've seen Trump called more rude things over the total arse he has made of pandemic deflection in the last couple of weeks than in the whole previous year, just about.

      It seems like more of the US is passing the WTF threshold that I passed through when he was (sort of) elected. Mind you, his approval rating is nearly 50%....I don't think I'm ever going to understand that, unless they're just making up the numbers.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Nob or knob?

  3. IGotOut

    Well, if he is worried about mingle with others....

    ...he can always go into solitary confinement.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought that we were "taking back control"?

    It's looking like we're just handing control over the US now. I understand why the US wants to punish him, Assange revealed a lot of very bad behavior and internationally illegal actions by the US so it's understandable but helping cover their mess up is not a good thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought that we were "taking back control"?

      Except he didn't just "reveal" it - he actively encouraged and taught Manning how to steal the information which is the main driver.

      Much like Snowden is the one the US are after but Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras aren't.

      Only burdon on extradition is to prove that what he did was a crime in the UK as well, which I'm fairly certain they'll demonstrate that it is.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: I thought that we were "taking back control"?

        I thought Manning got most of her advice and encouragement from Adrian Lamo before he turned her in, not from Assange?

        Ask any hacker what their opinion is of Lamo - not a nice chap, not at all.

        Although I guess there's no mileage in trying to prosecute a dead man, especially an american one.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Joke

    Curses! Foiled again!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read Craig Murray to get some balance

    Craig Murray: Assange Bail Application Today

  7. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Every cloud

    As someone who will be working from a small room next to my bedroom and not being able to step outside my front door for 12 weeks, for once I'm in a situation where Julian Assange (tm) might have some useful advice to offer. If only I'd got some embassy staff on hand to pop out to the shops for me.

  8. StuntMisanthrope

    Canis Major.

    It’s quite clear whether lay or stipend that the system is broken. Deport the man to his home country and export the law. #notproven

  9. &rew

    Julian Assange is being mistreated

    Regardless of his guilt or innocence, his treatment during this trial has been awful.

    There was a letter from the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute condemning his treatment.

    It should not go on. If he should die of a communicable disease while in custody, or he commits suicide because of his ill treatment, justice will not have been served; the UK's standing as a country which cherishes human dignity will decrease further.

    I don't know what to do about it, but writing to my representatives in parliament has been the start. I encourage you to do the same.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Julian Assange is being mistreated

      Regardless of his guilt or innocence, his treatment during this trial has been awful.

      Yet entirely self-inflicted.

      It should not go on. If he should die of a communicable disease while in custody, or he commits suicide because of his ill treatment, justice will not have been served;

      That's really the point. Weinstein was accused of sex offences, protested his innocence, hired crisis consultants to help with that, but tried and convicted. Assange did all the above, with the exception of avoiding any trial to establish his guilt or innocence. So arguably justice has not been served for the alleged victims, nor Assange. Rather than clearing his name, he'll remain an alleged sex offender.

      But Assange chose to flee Sweden. Then exhausted the UK's justice system to avoid facing his accused in Sweden. Then chose to flee to the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid being returned to Sweden. And having gone to great lengths to avoid justice, still seems suprised that he's considered a flight risk, and if he dies because Belmarsh is struck by a meteorite, he placed himself in it's path.

      Justice isn't served by allowing defendents to proclaim their own innocence, conduct their trial by media, or ignore bail terms and penalties for breaching those conditions.

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    No bail

    Good

    Whether hes guilty or not does not matter in the eyes of the bail application....

    Is he at high risk of violating his bail terms? is the only question being asked and given his previous behaviour, the answer is YES

    Therefore.. stay in jail until the case is heard

    And to think.... he could have stayed in Sweden to answer charges, been found innocent and been on his merry way for the past 10 yrs.....

  11. MJI Silver badge

    Why should he be extradited to US?

    He hasn't ran anyone over and killed them.

    The US can go and fuck itself.

  12. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Well.

    The gov will decide Prison officers should work from home too at some point.

    Or over-zealous cops will start rounding up everyone out of doors. 'heading to work? A likely story, everythings closed. Get in the back of the van!'

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