Ap News – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail seven years ago. He was sentenced by a British judge.
Judge Deborah Taylor appeared impressed by the judgment, she said on Wednesday that Assange deserves near the maximum sentence of a year because of how serious his offense is. She rejected his claim for leniency based on the nearly seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
“It is essential to the rule of law that nobody is above or beyond the reach of the law,” Taylor said. “Orders of the court are to be obeyed.”
Taylor 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.”
Assange faces a separate court hearing Thursday on a U.S. extradition request. American authorities have charged Assange with conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system.
At the trial, his lawyer Mark Summers argued that Assange failed to surrender to a British court seven year ago and so violated his bail because he had a reasonable fear that if he were extradited to Sweden he would be extradited to the United States and even onward to Guantanamo Bay. Assange further feared “kidnap by the United States” and was “living under overwhelming fear of rendition,” Summers told the court.