WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail today for breaking the Bail Act.
Assange apologized in London’s Southwark Crown Court, saying “I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done,” according to the BBC, which published his apology in full.
The sentencing judge, Deborah Taylor, commented, according to the Press Gazette, that “it’s difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offence.”
In December 2010, Assange turned himself in to UK police to face an order for extradition to Sweden for questioning about allegations of sexual abuse, was put in Wandsworth Jail and then was granted bail. In late May 2012, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Assange should be extradited to Sweden; then in June 2012, Assange appealed to the Ecuador Embassy in London for asylum, which broke the terms of his bail.
WikiLeaks tweeted that Assange’s “sentence is as shocking as it is vindictive.” iMediaEthics has contacted Assange’s lawyer for comment.
According to the New York Times, “The United States is seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition for prosecution there, and an initial hearing on that request is expected on Thursday. Officials in Sweden have left open the possibility that he could face criminal charges in that country, as well.”
Assange was arrested April 11 for breaking his bail agreement. In addition, Assange was arrested “pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.”