A UK court has sentenced Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks jail for breaching bail conditions imposed in 2012 in relation to a proceedings in Sweden for rape charges, reports the BBC.
The judge rejected the apology offered by Assange in a letter written by him to the court. 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.
The judge also said that placing police resources outside the embassy for 7 years cost the exchequer £16 millions.
The 47 year old whistleblower had taken refuge in Ecuador embassy in London in 2012. He is also facing charges of breaching official secrets in USA.
On April 11, Assange was taken into custody by UK police after Ecuador revoked the asylum protection.
In the apology letter, Assange said :
"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"
The Guardian reports that Assange supporters had assembled outside the court room.
WikiLeaks tweeted after the sentencing: "Julian Assange's sentence is as shocking as it is vindictive."