The United States on Monday said it would appeal the decision and detain Assange.
Judge Vanessa Pryzer said in her Wednesday ruling that “if Mr. Assange is released today, there is substantial reason to believe that he will fail to surrender and face appeals in court.”
The 49-year-old Australian will be in Belmarsh prison in London, where he has already served 50 weeks in prison for violating bail conditions. In 2012, he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden.
Assange faces 18 U.S. federal charges for his role in leaking secret military and diplomatic cables.
In April 2019, the United States charged him with “conspiracy to infiltrate a computer,” punishable by up to five years in prison. In May 2019, the federal government imposed a further 17 counts on Assange under the Espionage Act for his role in leaking secret military and diplomatic cables.
Each of those figures carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, which means that Assange could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.
The U.S. government has accused Assange of actively soliciting classified information from former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who obtained thousands of pages of classified material and provided Assange with diplomatic foreign cables, significant operational reports on the Iraq war and Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Assange’s lawyers and supporters have long argued that the extradition warrant and the charges against him were politically motivated and, if passed, would shake press freedom in both the United States and the United Kingdom.