WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange was granted bail in a British court Tuesday, but will remain in jail for up to two days while Sweden appeals the decision. If bail is allowed, Assange will be under what his lawyer calls "manor arrest" at a wealthy supporter's sweeping estate, obliged to wear an electronic monitoring device and check in with police each evening. Several socialites and celebrities, including filmmaker Michael Moore, pledged to cover Assange's $315,000 bail surety. Is Britain right to let Assange out? (Watch a Russia Today report about Assange's release)
This isn't justice: If Britain wants to free a man accused of forcing sex on a sleeping woman, I can't stop them, says Kevin Huffman in The Washington Post. But why on earth would Moore and other "gullible" Americans "personally pay" to help Assange resume his attacks on global diplomacy? "Putting up bail money for an accused rapist you don't know simply because you like his politics" is "jack-assery," not justice.
"Bailing out Assange: What was Michael Moore thinking?!"
Sadly, it's the right thing to do: "I have no particular love for Assange," and would love to see the U.S. prosecute him for espionage, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. "That said, refusing bail on an arrest warrant when no actual charges have been filed in Sweden appears to be punitive" and unnecessary. If Sweden wants to interrogate Assange before lodging their "questionable" rape charges, they will know where to find him.
"Assange gets bail in the UK"
But he's a flight risk: The U.S. is concerned that, once out on bail, Assange "will simply disappear — a fairly logical course" for him to take, says Toby Harnden in The Telegraph. According to Assange's lawyer, the U.S. has already secretly indicted him, and will seek extradition. If Assange does flee, though, his newfound celebrity makes it "unlikely" he'd be able to "evade the international authorities forever."
"The Obama administration closes in on Julian Assange"