A court in London on Wednesday sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail in 2012 and entering the Ecuadorean embassy, AFP reported. The police had arrested the journalist from the embassy on April 11 after it ended his asylum for allegedly violating “international conventions and daily-life protocols”.
As he was taken down to the cells, Assange raised his fist to his supporters in the public gallery behind him, The Guardian reported. They raised their fists back at him and shouted: “Shame on you” towards the court.
Assange had skipped bail in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden in connection with sexual assault allegations. The charges were dropped and the case was closed in 2017 because of his absence. However, after Assange’s arrest it came to light that the US Justice Department had filed a warrant for his extradition to the country for allegedly conspiring with whistleblower Chelsea Manning to hack a defence department computer.
In 2010, WikiLeaks had released a tranche of military and diplomatic documents, including those pertaining to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, uncovering potential war crimes. Manning is in jail at present for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in connection with the government’s investigation into Wikileaks.