A British court on Monday ordered supporters of Julian Assange who stood sureties to keep the WikiLeaks founder out of jail to pay $150,000 (93,500 pounds) in bail money by early next month.
The nine people put up a total of 140,000 pounds when Assange was arrested in London in December, 2010. But earlier this year, the WikiLeaks founder jumped bail after having exhausted all legal avenues to prevent his extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault.
The 41-year-old Australian fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in June. He has since been granted asylum by Ecuador, but his fate remains in limbo as British police have said they will arrest him as soon as he leaves the embassy.
On Monday, judge Howard Riddle at Westminster Magistrates' Court said he accepted that the group who offered sureties for Assange had "acted in good faith."
"I accept that they trusted Mr Assange to surrender himself as required ... However, they failed in their basic duty, to ensure his surrender," he said.
Among those ordered to pay were Vaughan Smith, a friend who put up Assange during the lengthy legal proceedings in Britain. The money is due to be paid by November 6.
Smith argued in court last week that he and the others should not lose their money because they thought they were "convinced that they have done and are doing the right thing."
The judge said he had taken the financial means of the nine, including Smith, into account during his deliberations, and was therefore not asking for the full amount of 140,000 pounds to be paid.
Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, as he says he fears a further deportation to the United States, where he could face treason charges - a death penalty case - for WikiLeaks' role in releasing hundreds of classified State Department documents starting in 2010.
Most Popular Stories
- 5 Potential Snags to the Bipartisan Budget Deal
- Adam Levine Wins Big as 'The Voice' Crowns Champ
- U.S. Home Construction Hammers Out 5-Year High
- From Fiscal Cliff to Female Head of GM: 2013 in Review
- Archer Daniels Midland Moving HQ to Chicago
- Budget Deal on Brink of Passing in Senate
- Apple: Disney Animation iPad App Best of 2013
- China Provokes Bitcoin Crash
- Mega Millions Winning Tickets Sold in Atlanta, San Jose
- Wine Collector Convicted of Making Fake Vintages