December 14, 2010, 11:03 AM — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted bail Tuesday by a U.K. judge.
Assange, 39, has been in jail since turning himself over to Scotland Yard authorities. He is the subject of a sex-crimes investigation in Sweden and is fighting extradition that that country.
(Also see: WikiLeaks' Assange arrested in London)
While Judge Howard Riddle approved Assange's release on $310,000 bail, he remains in custody "pending a hearing on an appeal by the prosecutor, which would take place within the next 48 hours," according to the New York Times.
The Times also reports:
In granting bail, Riddle ordered that Mr. Assange appear again in court on Jan. 11. He also said that between then and now he must reside at Ellingham Hall, a Georgian mansion in Bungay, in eastern England, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of a club for journalists. Mr. Assange must spend every night at the mansion and will be electronically tagged so the police can track his movements, the judge said.
Riddle imposed a daily curfew on Assange from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The WikiLeaks founder also must report to the police between 6 and 8 p.m. daily., the Times reports.
WikiLeaks has sparked a furor in recent weeks by releasing hundreds of classified U.S. State Department cables. The whistle-blowing organization says it has more than 250,000 State Department documents and has been slowly sharing them (often in redacted form) with a handful of newspapers around the world, which have been publishing them.
The blowback against WikiLeaks has been fierce. Some U.S. politicians have called Assange a terrorist and guilty of "treason" (though he's actually an Australian citizen), and many U.S. companies -- including MasterCard, Visa and PayPal -- have complied with government requests to cut business ties with the organization, effectively choking off much of its ability to raise funds.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Assange remained defiant in comments from prison relayed Tuesday by his mother. Australia's Seven network said Christine Assange spoke to her son for 10 minutes and asked him, at the network's request, whether it had been worth it.
"My convictions are unfaltering," the network quoted Mr. Assange as saying. "I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them.