Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail. Assange took refuge in London's Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over two alleged sexual assaults, but was finally handed to the police earlier this month.
Sentencing him, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange it was difficult to envisage a more serious example of the offence.
"By hiding in the embassy you deliberately put yourself out of reach, while remaining in the UK," she said.
She said this had "undoubtedly" affected the progress of the Swedish proceedings.
His continued residence at the embassy and bringing him to justice had cost taxpayers £16m, she added.
Assange apologized thus:
I apologise unreservedly to those who consider that I have disrespected them by the way I have pursued my case.
This is not what I wanted or intended.
I found myself struggling with terrifying circumstances for which neither I nor those from whom I sought advice could work out any remedy.
I did what I thought at the time was the best and perhaps the only thing that could be done - which I hoped might lead to a legal resolution being reached between Ecuador and Sweden that would protect me from the worst of my fears.
I regret the course that this took; the difficulties were instead compounded and impacted upon very many others.
Whilst the difficulties I now face may have become even greater, nevertheless it is right for me to say this now.
He has trimmed the beard, adds the BBC.
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