WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange was finally released from prison yesterday, to loud cheers from a crowd who had gathered to show their support for him outside the High Court in London.
An appeal against his bail was heard at the High Court yesterday morning, but the Swedish authorities said the decision to oppose bail was entirely a British decision and they did not instruct the British authorities to appeal.
Lots of supporters turned out yesterday to demand Assange’s immediate release from Wandsworth prison, waving placards and banners.
His lawyer Mark Stephens said outside the High Court: ‘We are aware that the Swedish authorities have denied that they asked for an appeal.
‘We are also aware that Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has said this morning that all the CPS is doing is the bidding of the Swedish government.
‘It is a matter entirely for the judge. He will look at everything afresh and it is a matter for his decision and his decision alone.
‘Nothing has changed in relation to the (bail) conditions.’
Stephens added that he remained ‘concerned’ about his client’s treatment in prison and said he was being held effectively on a ‘punishment regime, in Victorian conditions’ at Wandsworth jail.
Journalist John Pilger expressed his anger that Assange had faced the prospect of being denied bail again yesterday.
‘Even murderers get bail,’ he commented, adding: ‘The fact Julian Assange was refused bail was a gross injustice and that was corrected today in a limited way. At least he’s going to be a free man.’
Mark Stephens told reporters after bail was granted: ‘We are utterly delighted with the result here today.
‘We think it was an unnecessary appeal and is evidence of a continuing vendetta.
‘We obtained costs on behalf of Julian Assange today, but in truth the Swedes should pay those costs and not our own hard-pressed Crown Prosecution Service.
‘All the money (for surety) came through.
‘We are expecting Julian to be released today, everybody’s working very hard for that.’
Stephens said the question of who actually decided to appeal against bail for Assange ‘remains opaque and we still don’t have any idea who it was.’
Julian’s mother Christine Assange said: ‘I’m very, very happy with the decision, I can’t wait to see my son and to hug him.
‘I’d like to thank all the public and the public in Australia who stood up for justice.’