WikiLeaks head bailed, but spends another night in solitary confinement

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted bail on a £200,000 cash surety yesterday at the end of a hearing in which high-profile figures queued to offer financial guarantees for his freedom and protesters outside the central London court building howled their anger against his "grotesque" detention.

But last night the 39-year-old Australian remained in solitary confinement in Wandsworth Prison after prosecutors appearing on behalf of the authorities in Sweden, where Mr Assange is wanted on sex allegations, decided to appeal against the ruling. A hearing in the High Court in London is likely to take place in the next 48 hours.

Campaigners accused the Swedish authorities of bringing a politically motivated case, following the release of more than 250,000 American diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks and called for the claims that he sexually assaulted two women to be dropped.

Mr Assange, who according to his British lawyers is already under investigation by a secretly empanelled grand jury in America charged with establishing whether he can be prosecuted over the leaked telegrams, was remanded in custody a week ago after a magistrate accepted arguments that he might flee the country if released. During hectic proceedings, which saw Westminster magistrates' court surrounded by several hundred placard-waving protesters, District Judge Howard Riddle conceded that concerns about Mr Assange's residency had been resolved, before imposing stringent conditions on his release, including a demand that he surrender his passport and wear an electronic tag while living on the 600-acre Suffolk estate of one of his key supporters, Vaughan Smith.

In addition, Mr Assange, who denies the Swedish allegations, and his supporters were ordered to provide £200,000 in cash along with £40,000 to be pledged as security.

Mark Stephens, the solicitor representing Mr Assange, said his client was being held in "Orwellian" conditions in the south London prison, with only 30 minutes a day of free movement, and rigorous censorship of his mail and communications. Infrared photography was also being used to monitor his cell 24 hours a day.

He said: "Julian has absolutely no access to any electronic equipment, no access to the outside world, no access to outside media. Until the court is in possession of £200,000 in cash, an innocent man stays in jail. It is pretty uncomfortable for him at the moment."

Mr Assange's status as a global cause célèbre was underlined by the succession of prominent figures who made their way to court to pledge their support, both moral and financial, for him. Among those attending with offers to contribute to the bail payment were socialite Jemima Khan, author Hanif Kureishi and journalist John Pilger. Pledges of cash were also received from sources as diverse as American film director Michael Moore and the Marchioness of Worcester.

Mr Assange had kept out of the public eye and frequently changed his location after it became clear earlier this year that WikiLeaks was in possession of a vast quantity of US government material. The court heard that he was accused by Swedish prosecutors of having unprotected sex in August this year with a woman, Miss A, when she had insisted he use a condom. In a separate incident, he is alleged to have had unprotected sex with another woman, Miss W, while she was asleep.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, the human rights lawyer representing Mr Assange, told the court that the case had been thrown out by a senior prosecutor in Stockholm, who found the allegations did not amount to rape, only for the investigation to be reinstated in a different city following representations by a Swedish MP.

Mr Robertson said it was unclear whether the allegations against Mr Assange amounted to rape or an extraditable offence under British law. Gemma Lindfield, appearing for the Swedish authorities, said Mr Assange should be denied bail because he had sufficient resources to abscond.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
United States President Barack Obama, right, uses actor Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele to play the part of 'Luther, President Obama's anger translator'
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions