The 47-year-old Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions, by a British court.
He was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act last month after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Assange said he had found himself "struggling with difficult circumstances". He apologised to those who "consider I've disrespected them." "I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done," he said. Assange also argued that he should not be jailed for the offense, because he was effectively imprisoned in the embassy. Sentencing him, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange it was difficult to envisage a more serious example of the offense. His continued residence at the embassy and bringing him to justice had cost taxpayers £16m, she added.
Speaking outside court, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the sentence was an "outrage". Assange now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest leaks of government secrets. He faces a separate court hearing over extradition to the US on Thursday. The United States is seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition for prosecution there. He faces up to five years in a US prison if convicted. Supporters of Assange were outside court carrying signs like "No extradition" and "Hands off Assange: Don't shoot the messenger."Mr. Assange is being held in Belmarsh Prison in East London.