Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Assange: 'It's Great to Smell Fresh Air' Swedish Bid to Prevent His Release Fails

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Assange: 'It's Great to Smell Fresh Air' Swedish Bid to Prevent His Release Fails

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Black

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange vowed to "continue his work and protest his innocence" after being released on bail last night.

The 39-year-old whistleblower emerged from the High Court hours after a judge ruled that he should be released and his lawyers accused the Swedish authorities of waging a "vendetta" against him.

On the steps of the court, he said it was "great to smell the fresh air of London".

Assange added that his legal team would be revealing evidence relating to allegations of sexual assault made against him "as we get it".

Assange is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences which he denies and is facing extradition proceedings in the new year.

Earlier this week at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court he was granted bail pending the bid to extradite him.

But the Australian remained in prison while the authorities challenged his release, arguing that there was "a real risk" he would abscond.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Ouseley rejected submissions that the risk he posed made it impossible to set him free.

The judge said his co-operation with police suggested he was not "a person who is seeking to evade justice".

The judge accepted offers by Assange's supporters to stump up pounds 200,000 as a cash deposit and a number of other sureties.

The WikiLeaks founder was greeted by cheers from supporters and the camera flashes of photographers as he was released from the High Court.

Assange thanked "all the people around the world who had faith in me".

He also gave thanks to his legal team who "put up a brave and ultimately successful fight". And he paid tribute to "the British justice system itself, where, if justice isn't always an outcome, at least it is not dead yet."

He said that during his nine days behind bars he had time to "reflect on the conditions of those people around the world, also in solitary confinement, also on remand, in conditions that are more difficult than those faced by me". …

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