WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange is to stay in prison after his current custody period ends because of his “history of absconding”.
He was due to be freed next weekend from Belmarsh, South East London, after a 50-week sentence for jumping bail.
But the 48-year-old Australian is facing extradition to the US over hacking allegations.
Assange — who spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy to dodge the move — appeared via video link wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt at Westminster Magistrates yesterday.
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District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said: “You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end.
“When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.
“Therefore I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so.
“Perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.
“I have substantial grounds for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”
Asked if he understood, Assange said: “Not really. I’m sure the lawyers will explain it.”
Another administrative hearing will take place on October 11 following by a case management hearing on October 21, the court heard.
The final hearing in Assange’s extradition case is due in February.
Former home secretary Sajid Javid signed off on an order allowing Assange to be extradited in June.
Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.
He was dragged out by police in April, after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.
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