MOSCOW, May 1. /TASS/. WikiLeaks has condemned the British court’s sentence for its founder Julian Assange, voicing doubt that the hearing on his extradition to the United States will be fair.
"Julian Assange's sentence is as shocking as it is vindictive. We have grave concerns as to whether he will receive a fair extradition hearing in the UK," WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter.
The hearing on Assange’s extradition at the US request is due to take place on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, a London court sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in jail for violating the conditions of his bail. Assange could have faced a maximum prison term of one year or 52 weeks. Judge Deborah Taylor said it was difficult to "envisage a more serious example of the offense" and even given the alleviating circumstances the sentence was close to the maximum one.
Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012, Assange sought refuge in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested by the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police on April 11 after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum. His lawyers say that if extradited to the United States, Assange may face a 35-year prison term or capital punishment. The US Department of Justice has said, though, that Assange may get a five-year prison term at most for computer hacking.