Julian Assange will stay in jail despite reaching end of his sentence for jumping bail because authorities fear he would flee before they could send him to US to face hacking charges
- Wikileaks founder, 48, will stay at HMP Belmarsh in south east London
- Officials decided he is too much of a flight risk to be released pre-extradition
- He lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost seven years
Julian Assange has been told he has to stay in prison despite completing his sentence – because officials fear he could flee before they extradite him to the US.
Assange, 48, will remain at HMP Belmarsh in south east London until he is sent back to America to face computer-hacking allegations.
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.
He was then jailed for 50 weeks in the UK after he jumped bail by going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks founder was due to be released from Belmarsh on September 22, but was told at a court hearing last month that he would be kept in jail because of ‘substantial grounds’ for believing he would abscond.
Julian Assange (pictured through his prison van window) has been told he has to stay in prison despite completing his sentence – because officials fear he could flee before they extradite him to the US
The 48-year-old appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video-link from Belmarsh prison on Friday for a brief hearing, where he was told by deputy senior district judge Tan Ikram that he would remain in custody ‘for the same reasons as before’.
Mr Ikram told Assange that he would be required to attend a further case management hearing in person on October 21.
Assange is pictured addressing the media on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy where he hid for seven years
A final hearing in Assange’s extradition case is due to take place in February.
Assange entered the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.
He spent nearly seven years living inside until being dramatically dragged out by police in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.
He has recently been visited by friend and Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today from Vancouver, his unlikely showbiz friend Ms Anderson, 52, said: ‘He needs to be set free. He’s an Australian in the UK waiting for a US extradition.
‘He was right seeking asylum because everything he said was going to happen, happened.’
The model detailed her trip to visit Assange behind bars in south London saying: ‘When he saw me, he hugged me and lifted me off the ground.’
She continued: ‘I went to visit him in prison. That’s not somewhere you want to leave a dear friend. I care a great deal about Julian. I think he has been psychologically tortured.
‘This is a good person who has dedicated himself to exposing the truth to the public. He’s in prison because there are a lot more secrets to keep. He’s a fantastic guy.’
The Wikileaks founder is pictured being led by police from the embassy
Baywatch star Pamela Anderson is pictured visiting her friend Assange at Belmarsh in May