LONDON - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail yesterday - confined to a supporter's 600-acre estate but free to get back to work spilling U.S. government secrets on his website as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.
The silver-haired Australian, who surrendered to British police Dec. 7, will have to observe a curfew, wear an electronic tag and report to police in person every day.
But there are no restrictions on his Internet use, even as U.S. authorities consider charges related to thousands of leaked diplomatic cables and other secret documents WikiLeaks has released.
Dressed in a dark gray suit, Assange emerged from London's neo-Gothic High Court building late yesterday following a tense scramble to gather the money and signatures needed to free him. Speaking under a light snowfall amid a barrage of flash bulbs, Assange - who's been out of the public eye for more than a month - told supporters he will continue bringing government secrets to light.
"It's great to smell the fresh air of London again," he said to cheers from outside the court. "I hope to continue my work."