A British judge has denied bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, days after she rejected a US request to extradite him to America.
The US said it will be appealing against the decision on Monday and asked for Assange to be remanded in custody while that process was ongoing.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser said in her ruling on Wednesday that “there are substantial grounds for believing that if Mr. Assange is released today he would fail to surrender to court and face the appeal proceedings.”
The 49-year-old Australian will remain in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he has already served a 50-week sentence for violating bail conditions back in 2012 when he entered Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Assange is facing an 18-count US federal indictment for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables.
In April 2019, the US charged him with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years.
In May 2019, the federal government charged Assange with a further 17 counts under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables.
Each of those counts carries a potential sentence of 10 years, meaning that if convicted, Assange could be sentenced to up to 175 years in jail.
The US government alleges that Assange actively solicited classified information from former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who obtained thousands of pages of classified material and provided Assange with diplomatic State Department cables, Iraq war-related significant activity reports and information related to Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Assange’s lawyers and supporters have long argued that the extradition order and charges against him are politically motivated, and that, if carried out, would have a chilling effect on press freedoms in both the US and the UK.