British High Court Justice Duncan Ouseley handed down his decision on Thursday, confirming a lower court’s ruling that the 39-year-old Australian, Julian Assange, could be freed on 200,000 pounds bail (236,000 euros, $317,000) under strict conditions.
British prosecutors had been trying to keep Assange behind bars until his extradition hearing.
Assange has been in jail since December 7, after he turned himself in to British police over a Swedish sex crimes warrant. Two women in Sweden, who are WikiLeaks volunteers, have accused him of rape and sexual molestation.
Assange has denied any wrongdoing and claims that the allegations are trumped up charges and politically motivated. For their part, the two Swedish women have said they were never pressured to file charges.
Assange is the main force behind the release of tens of thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables, which include details of overseas sites that Washington regards as vital to its national security.
Lawyers for Assange said the bail money was “in the banking system” and ready to be paid.
Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Chuck Penfold