WikiLeaks founder could walk free TODAY as he faces bail hearing

Julian Assange will discover today if he will become a free man after almost 10 years of prison and self-imposed confinement after his dramatic legal victory against the US bid to extradite him. 

US officials were left 'extremely disappointed' after a British judge ruled on Monday that the WikiLeaks founder cannot be extradited to face spying charges due to the risk of him taking his own life in an American jail.

The US government has given notice that it will appeal against the decision and has two weeks to lodge grounds, while Assange has been remanded in custody at HMP Belmarsh ahead of his bail application today. 

Stella Moris - with whom he shares two young sons - was seen arriving at this morning's hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court alongside two senior WikiLeaks employees. 

Ms Moris, who fell in love with Assange while she was his lawyer, said outside the Old Bailey on Monday: 'Today is a victory for Julian. Today's victory is a first step towards justice in this case.'

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She also issued a direct appeal to Donald , which references President Ronald Reagan's 1987 appeal to Soviet lead Mikhail Gorbachev to 'tear down' the Berlin Wall. 

'Mr President tear down these prison walls,' she said. 'Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian. Free the press.'

Julian Assange's partner, Stella Moris, is seen arriving at this morning's hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court with Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, left, and Joseph A Farrell, an ambassador for the organisation 

On Monday, Assange won his legal battle against US officials who wanted to put him on trial for helping hack government computers and violating an espionage law by releasing confidential cables (he is seen in a court sketch)

On Monday, Assange won his legal battle against US officials who wanted to put him on trial for helping hack government computers and violating an espionage law by releasing confidential cables (he is seen in a court sketch) 

A prison van arrives at the Westminster Magistrates Court this morning ahead of Assange's bail application hearing, as photographers try to picture Assange inside

A prison van arrives at the Westminster Magistrates Court this morning ahead of Assange's bail application hearing, as photographers try to picture Assange inside 

Assange's defence team, including celebrity barrister Jennifer Robinson, will be in court for today's hearing. If they successful, their client could be a free man immediately afterwards.

However, this is thought to be unlikely given the US government's pending appeal. 

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Had Assange been convicted in the US, he would have been held in isolation at the notorious Supermax jail in Colorado, which has been described by a former warden as a 'clean version of hell' and a 'fate worse than death'.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser said there was an 'unmanageable high risk' of Assange taking his own life if he was housed amid the grim conditions as she revealed he has autism, Asperger's and a severe depressive disorder.

She accepted the evidence of medical experts who revealed that Assange had spoken openly about suicide while in Belmarsh and had prepared for it by writing a will. A razor blade was also found in his cell.

'This is a victory for Julian': How Assange's partner Stella Moris greeted Monday's verdict

Ms Moris, who fell in love with Assange while she was his lawyer, said outside the Old Bailey: 'I had hoped today would be the day Julian would come home. Today is not that day but that day will come soon.

'As long as Julian has to endure suffering in isolation as an unconvicted prisoner at Belmarsh prison, as long as our children continue to be robbed of their father's love and affection, we cannot celebrate.

'We will celebrate the day he comes home. 

'Today is a victory for Julian. Today's victory is a first step towards justice in this case.

'On behalf of Julian and myself, I want to thank the millions of people around the world and the institutions that are already calling for this persecution to end.

'I ask you all to shout louder, you lobby harder, until he is free. I call on everyone else to come together to defend Julian's rights; not just Julian's rights, they are your rights too. Julian's freedom is coupled to all our freedoms and our freedoms are lost in the blink of an eye.

'I call on insiders to come forward to expose the full extent of the misconduct that has led to Julian's imprisonment. And I call on the president of the United States to end this now.

'Mr President, tear down these prison walls. Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all.' 

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Mexico offered political asylum to Mr Assange earlier this week. The country's president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said: 'I'm going to ask the foreign minister to carry out the relevant procedures to request that the UK government releases Mr Assange and that Mexico offers him political asylum.'

He said Mexico would ensure 'that whoever receives asylum does not intervene or interfere in the political affairs of any country.' 

The country has previously offered political asylum to high-profile international figures such as former Bolivian president Evo Morales. 

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister said Assange can remain a free man if he chooses to return to his native country when his legal battle is over.  

Scott Morrison avoided passing judgement on the decision but said Assange would be able to travel home if he his freed.

'I note the decision overnight and like any other Australian I understand that's subject to appeal... assuming that all turns out, he's like any other Australian, he's free to return home to Australia if he wishes,' Mr Morrison told 3AW radio.

'Consular support has been offered to Assange... it's a matter for him [if he returns] when proceedings and processes end,' the prime minister added. 

On Monday, Assange's supporters were overjoyed at the decision not to extradite him to the US but expressed dismay that the ruling was made on health grounds rather than in defence of freedom of expression.

The activist has been backed by a raft of celebrities including Pamela Anderson, artist Al Weiwei and designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Assange's mother, Christine urged the US not to appeal, saying her son had suffered enough.

She tweeted after Monday's ruling: 'UK Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against extraditing my son Julian to the US on medical grounds.

'US prosecutors state they will appeal. I implore Pres & Pres elect Biden to order them to stand down. The decade long process was the punishment. He has suffered enough.'

Conservative MP David Davis said: 'Good news Julian Assange's extradition has been blocked. Extradition treaties should not be used for political prosecutions.'

Jeremy Corbyn, whose brother, Piers, was outside the Old Bailey on Monday, said: 'Good news that the extradition of Julian Assange has been refused - my congratulations to him and his legal team. Extradition would be an attack on press freedom.

'And it is alarming that the judge has accepted US government arguments threatening freedom of speech and freedom to publish. There remains much at stake in his case, which is being observed by so many around the world. Assange should be released.'

Assange, 49, faced an 18-count indictment, alleging a plot to hack computers and a conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information

Assange, 49, faced an 18-count indictment, alleging a plot to hack computers and a conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information 

A large crowd is now gathered outside the court today, with several police officers urging people to adhere to social distancing rules

A large crowd is now gathered outside the court today, with several police officers urging people to adhere to social distancing rules

Moris, with whom Assange shares two young sons, speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey in London on Monday

Moris, with whom Assange shares two young sons, speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey in London on Monday

How Assange is being defended by celebrity lawyer Jennifer Robinson - while judge overseeing case extradited Sarkozy fraud suspect

Jennifer Robinson, a key member of Assange's defence team, is the go-to barrister for the rich and famous, most recently walking hand in hand with actress Amber Heard in her showdown against her ex-husband Johnny Depp in his acrimonious libel trial.

She counts the elite among her inner circle, travelling to George and Amal Clooney's on a speedboat with actor Bill Murray.

A self-confessed Kyle Minogue fan, who has 'nothing in her fridge but Champagne' , the human rights lawyer once set headlines alight after she was spotted canoodling with Jeremy Corbyn's former spin doctor, Seumas Milne.

Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (left) with Assange's partner Stella Moris (right) at an earlier Old Bailey hearing

Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (left) with Assange's partner Stella Moris (right) at an earlier Old Bailey hearing

Ms Robinson and Mr Milne - a then-married father-of-two - were photographed in a passionate embrace on the terrace of the Courthouse hotel in East London in 2017. The 39-year-old, who came from humble beginnings in Australia, has been known to use her social media as an outlet to criticise the Tories on their human rights record and tweet support for Corbyn.

Less is known about Vanessa Baraitser, the district judge overseeing Assange's case. 

She appears to be a specialist in extradition cases and last year gave the go ahead for an associate of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to be returned to France for trial. 

Alexandre Djouhri, who was arrested at Heathrow last year after arriving on a flight from his Swiss home, and is accused by French prosecutors of nine offences relating to money laundering and corruption. These are alleged to have been committed in circumstances connected to Mr Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign.   

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser delivering her verdict on Monday

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser delivering her verdict on Monday

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The journalist Glenn Greenwald added a note of caution, saying the judge had endorsed most of the arguments put forward by the US in favour of extradition - including dismissing the idea that it was an attack on freedom of speech.

He said: 'This wasn't a victory for press freedom. Quite the contrary: the judge made clear she believed there are grounds to prosecute Assange in connection with the 2010 publication. It was, instead, an indictment of the insanely oppressive US prison system for security 'threats.'

Meanwhile, Edward Snowden - the whistleblower who worked with Wikileaks and is currently living in Russia after leaking U.S. surveillance secrets - called for an end to the proceedings, tweeting: 'Let this be the end of it.'

Amnesty International tweeted: 'We welcome the fact that Julian Assange will not be sent to the USA, but this does not absolve the UK from having engaged in this politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial.'

Judge Baraitser ruled that Assange risked being held under Special Administrative Measures (Sams), which would have seen him in solitary confinement with limited access to family and only two phone calls per month.

She said: 'Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by

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