United Kingdom

Out on bail, WikiLeaks' Assange criticises 'smear campaign'

Reuters/Paul Hackett

On his first day out of prison on conditional bail, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told British media that attempts to extradite him to Sweden were part of a "smear campaign”. Assange, who spent nine days in a London prison after his arrest on a Swedish warrant, also vowed to continue releasing secret US documents through his website.

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The Australian is facing allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Stockholm.

He also told reporters that he expected the United States, which has condemned the WikiLeaks cable releases, to bring spy charges against him.

Swedish prosecutors have denied the case has anything to do with WikiLeaks.

He expressed fears that the extradition proceedings to Sweden were "actually an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the United States".

As part of his bail conditions, which was secured with a payment of 283,000 euros, Assange must live at friend's Georgian mansion near Bungay in Suffolk, eastern England.

He has also been electronically tagged, is subject to a curfew and must report to police daily.

After denying Assange bail on 7 December, a judge granted it on Tuesday but kept the 39-year-old in custody while prosecuting lawyers appealed at the High Court.

Speaking to jubilant supporters on the steps of the court building after that appeal was denied Thursday, Assange said: "I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter.”

WikiLeaks has caused embarrassment and anger in Washington by releasing hundreds of classified US diplomatic cables, and his supporters have linked his detention to the massive leak.

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