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Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail in the UK

The WikiLeaks founder was arrested last month at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

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Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
Julian Assange Appears At Westminster Magistrates Court

Julian Assange is going to prison.

Jack Taylor / Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Assange was arrested last month at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the British capital after having his asylum withdrawn by Lenín Moreno the president of Ecuador. He'd been living in the Embassy for almost seven years after skipping bail for fear he'd be extradited to Sweden on rape charges. Sweden dropped the charges while Assange was inside the embassy, but is now considering reopening the case. 

The WikiLeaks founder is also facing the possibility of extradition to the US. The 47-year-old faces charges stemming from his alleged role in what the US Justice Department calls "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States." There will be a hearing on Thursday morning at Westminster Magistrate's Court on the extradition request.

"Julian Assange's sentence is as shocking as it is vindictive," said WikiLeaks on Twitter. "We have grave concerns as to whether he will receive a fair extradition hearing in the UK."

The sentence handed down to Assange in the UK is just two weeks short of the maximum he could have received. If found guilty in the US, Assange would face a maximum sentence of five years, according to the Justice Department.

Julian Assange extradition
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