WikiLeak’s Assange, Free On Bail

The founder of the controversial WikiLeaks website Julian Assange was granted bail today.  He had been arrested last week in Britain on a Swedish sex crime charge.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been in the hot seat recently over the public disclosure of around 250,000 secret diplomatic messages.  While all of them have not yet been released, some of the small percentage of released cables have led to embarrassment in Washington, D.C. resulting in political pressures to stop the publication of the remaining cables.

The release of Assange comes with strict conditions including wearing an electronic ankle bracelet, daily check-ins with police, a stiff curfew, and depositing 200,000 pounds (about $320,000 US) with the court.  His next hearing is set for January 11th.

The Judge also stipulated that Assange must reside in the home of Vaughan Smith in Suffolk (eastern England).  Smith is a former army officer who was the driving force behind a London-based independent press club.

Assange’s mother Christine has been helping to get Julian’s message out to the public in recent days and on Tuesday, she released a statement from her son that reflected a growing hostility towards payment firms that have been denying access to donations to the website and Assange’s defense fund.  In the statement, Assange calls for help with protecting his work from these financial firm’s “illegal and immoral attacks.”

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