Wikileaks: Judge sentences Assange to 50 weeks for skipping on bail

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LONDON (AP) — A British judge sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail seven years ago and holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Judge Deborah Taylor said it was hard to imagine a more serious version of the offense as she gave the 47-year-old hacker a sentence close to the maximum of a year in custody.

She said Assange's seven years in the embassy had cost British taxpayers 16 million pounds ($21 million), and said he sought asylum as a "deliberate attempt to delay justice."

The white-haired Assange stood impassively with his hands clasped while the sentence was read. His supporters in the public gallery at Southwark Crown Court chanted "Shame on you" at the judge as Assange was led away.

The Australian secret-spiller sought asylum in the South American country's London embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers told a courtroom packed with journalists and WikiLeaks supporters that his client sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy because he had a "well-founded" fear that he would be sent to the U.S., mistreated and possibly sent to the.S. detention camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

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