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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted bail today by a British judge. Last week the Swedish government issued a European Arrest Warrant for Assange requesting he be extradited to Sweden to face prosecution for alleged sex crimes including rape. He was arrested last Tuesday and an initial bail application was rejected. He has spent the last week in an isolation unit in London's Wandsworth Prison.
Assange was granted bail after surrendering his passport, agreeing to wear an electronic tag and make a nightly check-in at a local police station. He will also post 240,000 pounds ($390,000) bail . He was returned to his solitary cell pending his supporters putting the money together.
Assange's week in jail hasn't dented his spirit. A photo taken today through a prison van window of the man who has caused a global furor with his release of a quarter of a million classified U.S. State Department cables shows Assange with his his finger along the side of his nose — a classic gesture of conmen telling one another the fix is in.
The last week has seen the first skirmishes in what may well be cyberwars of the future, as hackers who support Assange and WikiLeaks mounted concentrated attacks on Visa, Mastercard and Amazon's websites. Service was partially disrupted at all three by hackers angered by the credit card companies' refusal to accept donations for WikiLeaks and by Amazon removing the website from its servers.
The extradition hearing on the Swedish charges is expected in the middle of January.