Julian Assange to remain in jail despite end of custody period

11 October 2019, 13:25

Julian Assange was due to have been released on 22 September from Belmarsh Prison
Julian Assange was due to have been released on 22 September from Belmarsh Prison. Picture: PA

By Sylvia DeLuca

Julian Assange is to remain in prison despite reaching the end of his custody period on his current jail term because of his "history of absconding".

Former home secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited to the US over computer-hacking allegations.

He was jailed for 50 weeks in the UK in May after he jumped bail by going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks founder was due to be released from HMP Belmarsh on September 22, but was told at a court hearing last month that he would be kept in jail because of "substantial grounds" for believing he would abscond.

The 48-year-old appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court via video-link from Belmarsh prison on Friday for a brief hearing, where he was told by deputy senior district judge Tan Ikram that he would remain in custody "for the same reasons as before".

Mr Ikram told Assange that he would be required to attend a further case management hearing in person on October 21.

A final hearing in Assange's extradition case is due to take place in February.

Assange entered the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.

He spent nearly seven years living inside until being dramatically dragged out by police in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.