WikiLeaks' Julian Assange To Be Released On Bail In Britain

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Breaking news: Britain releases Julian Assange on bail:

Britain's high court today granted bail to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape.

Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley agreed with a decision by City of Westminister magistrates court earlier in the week to release Assange on strict conditions: £200,000 cash deposit, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000, and strict conditions on his movement.

Assange stood in a dark grey suit in the dock as Ouseley began hearing an appeal by British prosecutors acting on behalf of Sweden.

There was an early sign that the day would go in Assange's favour when Ouseley said: "The history of the way it [the case] has been dealt with by the Swedish prosecutors would give Mr Assange some basis that he might be acquitted following a trial."

Mark Stephens, one of Assange's lawyers, said he expected Assange to be released later today, or tomorrow in a worst case scenario.

It will be more like in-home custody:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will move from a prison cell in Wandsworth to a country retreat in Norfolk when he is released from custody.

Ellingham Hall is a 10-bedroomed property set on 600 acres of land near Bungay on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

The estate is owned by Vaughan Smith, a Wikileaks supporter who served in the British Army before founding London's Frontline journalists' club.

Mr Assange must stay there as part of his bail conditions, granted on Thursday by Mr Justice Ouseley at the Royal Courts of Justice.

He must also wear an electronic tag, report to police every day and observe a curfew.

Meanwhile, journalists are finally beginning to speak out:

One of the most prominent journalism schools in the United States is asking President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute WikiLeaks because it would set a "bad precedent for reporters."

"We all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables WikiLeaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment," according to a letter signed by 19 Columbia Journalism School professors.

Holder is an alum of both the undergrad program and Columbia Law School.

"As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves," the letter says. READ THE LETTER

The letter argues that prosecuting WikiLeaks would result in "chilling" investigative journalism everywhere, and that legal action against the organization would "greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration."


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