With Julian Assange arrested yesterday, many people are rejoicing. But having Julian Assange arrested for rape charges is considered a crime unto itself by other people. Yet, after massive pressure from all sides, the WikiLeaks founder agreed to turn himself in on sexual molestation charges from Sweden. When he did, expectations were that he would meet his bail and await to clear his name. However, after Assange was arrested, bail was denied to him this morning.
The WikiLeaks head turned himself in after a European Arrest Warrant was issued across the continent. Despite being the target of countless governments for his recent leaks, he was actually brought in for charges of rape in Sweden last year.
After the British took Assange into custody, Sky News reporter Paul Harrison predicted that he would be released on bail eventually. But, although Harrison speculated that Assange wouldn’t go on the run afterward, Judge Howard Riddle had a different opinion today.
The judge said that he had “substantial grounds” to believe the accused would flee, so he remanded him into custody. He will be held until Dec. 14, when extradition hearings begin. Although Sweden wants to bring him back to face trial there, the U.S. has extra time to make an extradition case of their own now.
The calls to have Julian Assange arrested, or worse, have spread beyond Sweden. Even some politicians have speculated that he should be assassinated, or at least charged with treason. A criminal investigation in the U.S. is underway, but it is uncertain if they can find enough grounds to charge him.
Despite the trouble that Assange is in with Sweden, going back there would still be preferable to American extradition. Yet his lawyers vowed that any extradition would be fought, and the site is still up as well after moving to a new domain days ago.
Although Assange was finally arrested, it did not cause him or the site to unveil their trump card yet. They have promised that if something happens to him, or the website, even more damaging documents will be released from their “insurance file.” That will only happen in the case of “grave matters,” yet there is no word on what that would entail.
It seems the pressure finally drove the WikiLeaks founder to stop running, although it already hasn’t gone the way he would have liked. With Assange arrested, all eyes are on how he will hold up until his extradition hearings, and how the site will go on as well.
The Globe and Mail- “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied bail”
Sky News- “WikiLeaks: British Police Arrest Assange”