While still restrained to a certain extent (huge bail and electronic bracelet), Julian Assange will be able to go out walking in the grounds of Ellingham Hall in Bungay (Suffolk). This stately home belongs to the British TV journalist Vaughan Smith, who's a friend and supporter of Assange. Smith is the owner of London's Frontline Club, near Paddington station, whose self-proclaimed mission consists of "championing independent journalism".
Most prisons are not as nice. At present, the grounds are not quite as green, and there's snow on the lawns. In any case, Julian is a special prisoner. A sort of Count of Monte Cristo.
Strictly speaking, he's not a prisoner at all. Not even a clearly-accused suspect of anything less trifling than one-night-stands with groupies that got screwed up... Julian more so than the mindless groupies, who should be able to take better care of themselves.
I was shocked to learn that it was the British, not the Swedes, who had been determined to keep Julian Assange in jail [link]. Were Australian governmental authorities worried about this unexpected behavior on the part of our "motherland"? Well, yes, I have the impression that Kevin Rudd has been trying to do his bit (maybe a rather little bit, as a consequence of his demotion from power) to inject some clarity into this affair. Meanwhile, what is Julia Gillard doing to protect the rights of her limply-accused compatriot? I don't know. Maybe, one of these days, she'll tell us.
FOOTNOTE: Many people have confused the home of Vaughan Smith with another Ellingham Hall located at Chathill up in Northumberland. I myself made this mistake yesterday, for ten minutes or so. This other Ellingham Hall (which, I repeat, has absolutely nothing to do with the place down in Suffolk where Julian Assange is staying) is a luxurious country house located up towards the Scottish border [website], which has become a popular venue for corporate events, weddings and special occasions.