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Supporters of WikiLeaks' Assange lose $320K in bail money

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt.

Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the High Court in London in this December 5, 2011 file photo.

 

Supporters who put up nearly $320,000 to bail out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have lost their money, the Guardian of London reported.

Assange’s backers -- who include Jemima Khan, a writer, movie directors Ken Loach and Michael Moore and publisher Felix Dennis – had to forfeit their money because Assange skipped bail in June to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is wanted on rape charges.

Assange, 41, has repeated that the Swedes would send him to the U.S., where he believes he would face the death penalty for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents through the website WikiLeaks.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said those claims are “without foundation,” according to the BBC.


Instead, Assange moved into the Ecuadorean embassy, where British officials cannot arrest him, according to the Guardian. President Rafael Correa of Ecuador extended an open invitation to Assange to stay at the embassy, where, according to Reuters, he resides in a small, sequestered room with a vitamin D light and a treadmill to blow off steam.

A district court in Westminster, England, will convene again in October to determine whether nine other backers should also lose their money

Those financial supporters had promised to pay the court $31,732 each, the Guardian reported. Total, the backers stand to lose $539,444. Other backers include Assange’s girlfriend Sarah Harrison, along with a journalism critic and a Nobel Prize winning biologist, according to the Independent.

The conditions of Assange’s bail required that he wear an electronic tag and stay at the home of businesswoman Sarah Saunders. Saunders, who told the BBC in 2010 that Assange was a family friend, also put more than $30,000 toward his bail.

None of Assange’s financial supporters attended court, which frustrated Judge Howard Riddle. The judge said those backers had a month to convince Assange to turn himself in.

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