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Assange Remains Behind Bars But Pro-WikiLeaks Hackers Continue Attacks


Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some wearing masks depicting him and holding placards, participate at a demonstration outside the Swedish Embassy in London, 13 Dec 2010

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some wearing masks depicting him and holding placards, participate at a demonstration outside the Swedish Embassy in London, 13 Dec 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain behind bars until he returns to a London courtroom Thursday to hear the appeal against his being released on bail.

Lawyers acting for Swedish prosecutors have challenged a London judge's decision to free Assange on strict bail conditions, claiming the website founder is a flight risk. Assange is wanted in Sweden to answer to allegations of rape.

But even as he sits in jail, Assange's online supporters continue to punish those they see as persecuting the WikiLeaks chief, and his website continues to distribute classified U.S. cables.

Hackers late Tuesday caused the Swedish Prosecution Authority's website to crash, pulling it down for almost 11 hours.

In the United States, the Berkeley City Council in California considered a vote on whether to declare a hero the soldier who allegedly released the classified information to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning. The vote was indefinitely delayed.

The U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, is barring its personnel from using their work computers to access news organizations or other sources that have posted the WikiLeaks cables.

Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens says conditions in the Wandsworth jail where Assange is being held are "unpleasant." He says Assange had only been allowed three visits and three telephone calls.

Speaking from his jail cell through his mother, Assange earlier this week called on his backers to protect his work, but Stephens has said that Assange is against hacker attacks.

WikiLeaks has released hundreds of thousands of classified documents since it was launched in 2006, to the anger of governments worldwide. The latest batch includes thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

On Tuesday, Judge Howard Riddle set bail for roughly $315,000 (200,000 British Pounds) to allow Assange to walk out of prison. As part of the bail conditions, Assange would have to wear an electronic tag, live at the estate of a supporter who provided an address to the court, and report to the police daily.

Assange has been held since last week when he surrendered to British authorities.

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