Judge to supporters of Assange: Pay up
LONDON – A British judge on Monday ordered supporters of Julian Assange to pay thousands of pounds they promised for his bail because the WikiLeaks founder violated the conditions for his release.
The 41-year-old Assange violated a condition to report to a police station daily when he sought refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been holed up since June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sex crimes allegations.
The WikiLeaks founder and his supporters claim the Swedish sex case is part of a Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the United States over his work with WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and other documents.
Sweden and the U.S. reject that claim.
But Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle on Monday ordered nine supporters, including Former BBC journalist Vaughan Smith, who hosted Assange at his country house for more than a year as the WikiLeaks founder fought extradition, to pay $150,000 by Nov. 6. The Judge said that while he accepted the supporters had acted in good faith, they had failed in their “basic duty” to ensure Assange surrendered.