WIKILEAKS FOUNDER Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks' porridge for breaching bail and spending seven years holed up in London's Ecuadorian embassy.
Assange, who was arrested last month, had been seeking refuge in the embassy since June 2012 in a bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. London coppers dragged him out of the embassy on 11 April after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum.
Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching the Bail Act at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday. Judge Deborah Taylor that Assange merited the near maximum sentence of one year because of the seriousness of his offence.
In a letter read to the court, Assange said he apologises and "regrets the course" he took to pursue his case.
"I apologise unreservedly to those who consider that I have disrespected them by the way I pursued my case," he said. "I found myself struggling with difficult circumstances.
"I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done - I regret the course that that has taken."
As he was taken down to the cells, Assange defiantly raised his fist to the supporters in the public gallery behind him. They raised their fists back at him in solidarity and shouted: "Shame on you" towards the court.
On Thursday, Assange will face a hearing about his potential extradition to the US over the allegation that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to infiltrate Pentagon computers.
Prosecutors in Sweden are also considering whether to reopen the sexual assault case against Assange, which was dropped in May 2017. µ
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