Julian Assange’s High-Profile Backers Are Wondering What Happens to All That Bail Money They Gave Him

A group of big-name supporters helped raise more than $375,000 for the Wikileaks founder, which they could stand to lose now that he's seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the High Court in London December 5, 2011.

As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains holed away in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, hoping he’ll be granted the political asylum that would allow him to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations, one big question looms. Just how do Assange’s supporters, especially the people who’ve fronted his bail money, feel about his unexpected move?

The whistle-blower, who counts Bianca Jagger and Michael Moore among his most vocal supporters became one of the world’s most divisive figures since unleashing his Wikileaks website and its treasure trove of classified documents. The Australian born Assange became even more controversial when he was accused of rape in Sweden and the country attempted to have him extradited to face questioning. He’s been going through various levels of the British justice system, attempting to stop that from happening. While some say he should head to Sweden to face the music — guilty or otherwise — others support his claim that the Swedish allegations are a ruse orchestrated by U.S. authorities to crack down on his site and its secrets. Big-name celebs and respected journalists and writers, including the likes of Jemima Khan, Tariq Ali and director Ken Loach opened their wallets for Assange in December, collectively fronting a more than $375,000 bond to spring Assange from jail. Unfortunately it now appears they might never see that cash again, as Scotland Yard announced on Wednesday that Assange’s actions count as a breach of his bail terms.

Khan tweeted her dismay on Monday:

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian ambassador Anna Alban has said its government is considering Assange’s application in statement reading, “the decision on Mr Assange’s application would be assessed by the department of foreign affairs in Quito and would take into account Ecuador’s long and well-established tradition in supporting human rights.”

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