WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Sentenced to 50 Weeks for Bail-Jumping

Assange sought asylum in the South American country's London embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden

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Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in prison for jumping British bail seven years ago and holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Judge Deborah Taylor said Wednesday that Assange merited near the maximum sentence of one year because of the seriousness of his offense.

She rejected his claim for leniency based on the nearly seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The white-haired Assange stood impassively with his hands clasped while the sentence was read. His supporters in the public gallery chanted "Shame on you" at the judge as Assange was led away.

Assange sought asylum in the South American country's London embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Earlier, his lawyers argued that he had jumped bail because he was a "desperate man" fearing extradition to the United States. And Assange, who raised a fist defiantly as he arrived in a prison van at court, had apologized unreservedly.

He faces a separate court hearing Thursday on a U.S. extradition request. American authorities have charged Assange with conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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