A British judge on Wednesday denied bail to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who has been jailed in Britain since 2019 as he fights extradition to the United States.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ordered Assange to remain in prison while the courts consider an appeal by U.S. authorities of a decision not to extradite him.
On Monday, the judge rejected an American request to send Assange to the U.S. to face espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret military documents a decade ago. She denied extradition on health grounds, saying the 49-year-old Australian was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions.
The judge said Wednesday that Assange “has an incentive to abscond” and there is a good chance he would fail to return to court if freed.
The ruling means Assange must remain in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison where he has been held since April 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle seven years earlier.
Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, said the decision was “a huge disappointment.” WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said “it is inhumane. It is illogical.”