Julian Assange Free on Bail
Julian Assange has left the building.
Julian Assange was freed on bail Thursday after nine days in prison—reportedly, in solitary confinement—after an appeal by British authorities to keep him in custody until his January 11 Swedish extradition hearing.
British authorities had appealed that Assange should be kept penned up on the grounds that he is a flight risk, but he was granted bail on the condition that he submit to electronic tagging under house arrest and bail to the tune of $315,000 (a sum to which Michael Moore contributed $20,000.)
The release follows a recent flurry of backlash against the international pursuit of Julian Assange, including a spirited defense by Ron Paul, as well as women who argued in his defense, including Naomi Wolf who argued in the Huffington Post that Sweden was being hypocritical and disingenuous in its persecution of Assage. Also the worldwide leader of the Justice for Assange Campaign, Verena Payr, can be seen expressing her relief at his release below.
Not inconsequentially, one of the arguments Assange’s lawyers offered up as to why he needed to be freed is that he must be allowed to coordinate his defense against an imminent case by the US that he actively conspired with Bradley Manning to leak US secret documents. Such a distinction would categorize him not as an independent publisher, but as the international spy and conspirator US officials like Eric Holder and Joe Liebermann (and Sarah Palin, for what it’s worth) desperately want to see him as.
Above, Assange is pictured through the van transporting him to his hearing. You have to admit he looks pretty at ease with himself. He’s clearly either a man who feels he has done nothing wrong, or a complete sociopath. Time will tell, but so far it looks like governments’ best efforts to paint him as the latter are not panning out so well.