Michael Moore, Ken Loach, Others Lose Julian Assange Bail Money

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The WikiLeaks founder ran afoul of his bail terms when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy to seek asylum.

LONDON - Hollywood supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including directors Ken Loach and Michael Moore, have lost £200,000 ($317,130) in bail money they had put up for him, the Guardian reported.

The decision came after Assange fled into the Ecuadorian embassy here this summer to avoid extradition to Sweden where he would face sexual assault charges and request political asylum. Observers had predicted that this would cause the bail money to be lost as Assange failed to adhere to his bail terms.

Socialite Jemima Khan and publisher Felix Dennis are also among the known celebrity supporters of Assange who had put up bail money.

Moore, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover and Bill Maher were among the prominent Hollywood folks who earlier this summer signed a petition that urged Ecuador to accept the WikiLeaks founder's asylum request. 

At a court hearing in London, a judge also adjourned a further hearing until October to decide if nine other backers will also lose their money, the Guardian said. That group put up an additional £140,000 ($222,000) in bail money.

Assange asked Ecuador for asylum, arguing that the Swedish extradition  request would lead to further extradition to the U.S. where he could face the death penalty. Ecuador granted him asylum, but British police said he would get arrested if he leaves the embassy.

The judge argued that bail providers would have to persuade Assange to surrender to police to get their money back.

"At the moment, I'm not persuaded that any reasonable surety would not be using every effort, publicly and privately, to persuade Mr. Assange to surrender himself to U.K. authorities," the Guardian quoted him as saying.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai