Assange Freed Pending Extradition Hearing
LONDON — Julian Assange was freed on bail and sent to stay at a British country mansion Thursday, after a U.K. judge rejected prosecutors' attempts to keep the WikiLeaks founder in prison as he fights extradition to Sweden.
Speaking to reporters, Assange said he hoped to continue his WikiLeaks work while defending himself against sex crime charges in Sweden.
Assange, who angered Washington by publishing secret diplomatic cables, had been held in a British jail following allegations of the sexual crimes.
Cheers erupted outside the London court as the verdict by High Court justice Duncan Ouseley was reported. The judge then outlined the bail conditions to Assange in a packed courtroom full of lawyers, journalists and supporters.
Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said he was "utterly delighted" with the judge's ruling, which included an order that prosecutors pay his client's court costs.
Assange, dressed in a dark gray suit, smiled and gave a thumb's up sign to a packed courtroom as he was led from the dock by guards. He was released shortly afterwards.
Stephens said before the hearing began that the 200,000 pound ($317,000) cash bond needed should be available later on Thursday after being raised by supporters.
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