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WikiLeaks founder Assange released on bail

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released on bail following a week of legal drama over his extradition. (Dec. 16)

The 39-year-old Australian, who had to surrender his passport, will be subject to an eight-hour-a-day curfew and surveillance with an electronic tag and must check in nightly with police.

Assange was jailed Dec. 7 after turning himself in to British authorities. A judge initially denied his request for bail based on the assumption that the nomadic and elusive WikiLeaks mastermind was a flight risk. The same judge reversed his decision on Tuesday after Assange's backers provided him with a fixed address and Assange agreed to submit to heavy surveillance while on bail.

Swedish authorities have said they have no position on whether Assange should be freed or held behind bars while he fights the extradition warrant. But British prosecutors independently appealed his release to the High Court on Thursday, arguing that Assange might find a way to disappear from under authorities' noses.

As Assange headed to the estate near London, Manning - who apparently has never met Assange but has communicated with him using an encrypted instant-message service - remained in his fifth month of solitary confinement at a Marine facility at Quantico, Va.

Because of the Marine Corps' fear that he might harm himself, Manning has not been given a pillow or sheets, and is not allowed to exercise, said sources familiar with Manning's conditions of confinement.

He has access to about one hour of television a day, and to newspapers and magazines.

The Army is trying to have him removed from "prevention of injury watch," said one source, adding that a forensic psychologist has concluded that he is not likely to harm himself.

David House, a friend of Manning, said that over the past few weeks he had "noticed a steady decline in [Manning's] mental and physical well-being."

House said that Manning's prolonged confinement "is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to brig regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness."

The military criminal justice system does not offer bail.

faiolaa@washpost.com markonj@washpost.com nakashimae@washpost.com

Markon and Nakashima reported from Washington. Special correspondent Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi in London contributed to this report.


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