It looks like it may be a while, if ever before Julian Assange makes it back to the United States to face any sort of American justice for publishing some of our deepest national security secrets on the internet. Following his arrest and after being hauled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by British police, the Australian faced a court in London where he was found guilty of jumping bail and has been tossed in the slammer for almost a year.
The 47-year-old was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act last month after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
He took refuge in the London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which he has denied.
In a letter read to the court, Assange said he had found himself “struggling with difficult circumstances”.
He apologised to those who “consider I’ve disrespected them”, a packed Southwark Crown Court heard.
“I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done,” he said.
In mitigation, Mark Summers QC had said his client was “gripped” by fears of rendition to the US over the years because of his work with whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
“As threats rained down on him from America, they overshadowed everything,” he said.
Too bad. Assange stands accused in an unsealed indictment of conspiring with a convicted American traitor to hack into computers to which the traitor was not granted access for the express purpose of procuring damning information to publish on the WikiLeaks site.
Americans do not take such offenses lightly.
In Britain, the main concern is more that Assange put himself out of reach of authorities by seeking asylum to escape charges from the nation of Sweden. Extradition to the United States seems to be an afterthought there while it is a goal of Americans with a full understanding of the situation.
In the meantime, Assange is sitting in a jail in London, defiant as always.