Wikileaks founder from jail defended release of cables

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted bail by a British court but will remain behind bars Tuesday as Sweden’s lawyer appeals the judge’s decision.

Judge Howard Riddle earlier had set bail for a total of $380,000 (240,000 British pounds) to allow Assange to walk out of prison.

The Swedish appeal to the bail means Assange will have to wait at least another 48 hours before he can be freed, pending the outcome of the appeal.

As part of his bail conditions, Assange will wear an electronic tag, will be subject to a curfew, will live at the estate of a supporter who provided an address to the court, and will report to the police daily.

Assange has been held since last week in a British jail on a warrant from Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on allegations of rape. He denies the allegations.

The controversial Assange had said earlier from his prison cell that he stands by his decision to publish thousands of classified U.S. government documents on his website.

Australian television says Assange told his mother, Christine Assange, during a visit at the jail that his “convictions are unfaltering” and that he “remains true” to the ideals he has expressed on freedom of information.

The Australian was represented in court by the high-profile human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.

Christine Assange, who traveled from Australia to be with her son, read a statement from him that she copied down while talking to Assange at the Wandsworth jail in London.

Assange said in the statement that his current circumstances have done nothing to shake his conviction that he was correct in releasing the hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and other classified documents that were leaked to his website.

Assange also criticized the financial firms PayPal, MasterCard and Visa that had withdrawn their services from his Web site, accusing them of being “instruments of U.S. foreign policy.” He called on his global supporters to protect his work.

The publication of the secret cables have roiled U.S. diplomatic circles. Previous WikiLeaks releases on the Iraq and Afghanistan war were severely criticized by the Pentagon as putting peoples’ lives at risk. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the leaks.

The Australian surrendered to British authorities last week after Sweden issued an international arrest warrant.

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