Julian Assange

Julian Assange will likely be charged with conspiracy and receive a lengthy jail sentence although will not end up in Guantanomo detention centre. That is the conclusion arising from new betting markets opened by American bookmakers subsequent to the arrest of the Australian journalist yesterday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange had taken refuge in the embassy in May 2012 to escape what many commentators perceived as attempts by British and Swedish authorities to meet with Washington back-channel requests for accommodating extradition procedures to the US.

Odds of Assange being charged with conspiracy – along with Chelsea Manning for attempting to hack into US government archives – have been priced at 1/16 [implied probability: 94%] by American betting website MyBookie, whilst the odds of Assange being put away for 4.5 years or more have been assigned at 1/7 [implied probability: 87.5%]. Odds of Assange being sent to Guantanomo are much longer, however, at 8/1 [implied probability: 11.1%].

Charges

The current list of charges coming from the US appear relatively tame given the long series of major embarrassments that the Australian has presented for American authorities since 2010. According to at least one commentator, the charges were likely bridled by wider fears within the US Justice Department of being seen to act in an unconstitutional manner.

It is unclear, however, at this stage if the US authorities will seek to pursue other charges. A number of prominent political figures in the US have explicitly called for Assange’s assassination in the past or for the application of the death penalty. Since his arrest yesterday, Assange’s lawyers have insisted that his forced removal from the Ecuadorian embassy represents an attack on the freedom of the press.

A number of British bookmakers have also previously offered markets on the Australian activist, most notably Paddy Power’s market on Assange’s exit date from the embassy. Created in 2017, PP had offered odds at 10/1 for Assange to leave the embassy during calendar year 2019.