Assange Granted Bail, But Sweden Appeals

by
staphni
"(CNN)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted bail Tuesday after a hearing at Westminster Magistrate's Court in London, but a lawyer representing Swedish prosecutors immediately filed an appeal.

That means Assange will remain in jail for another 48 hours, until the next hearing.

The 39-year-old Australian handed himself over to London police last week to answer a European arrest warrant over alleged sex crimes in Sweden. Assange is facing accusations of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in separate incidents in August in Stockholm. He could be sentenced to two years in prison if convicted. His lawyers deny the allegations and have vowed to fight any attempts at extradition.

The magistrate agreed to grant bail Tuesday after Assange's team of attorneys reported that Vaughan Smith, a former British army officer who founded London's Frontline Club, had offered his mansion in Suffolk to Assange.

Smith will keep Assange ""if not under house arrest, at least under mansion arrest,"" said defense attorney Geoffrey Robinson. At that, Assange, dressed in a white shirt and a blue jacket and sitting in a glassed-in corner of the court with three security guards, smiled wryly.The magistrate set bail at 200,000 pounds (about $315,000) plus two sureties of 20,000 pounds each (about $31,500). Assange's passport must remain with police, and he will be monitored by a location tag.

Assange must be at Smith's mansion, about two hours outside of London, for at least four hours overnight and four hours during the day. He will be required to report to police daily between 6 and 8 p.m. The next court hearing was scheduled for January 11.

After the conditions were set, Assange stood and said, ""I understand,"" with a neutral expression. But several hours later, Sweden filed its appeal. "