UK prosecutors behind appeal against Assange bail

UK authorities - not, as previously reported, Swedish prosecutors - are behind the latest attempt to block a bail request from Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.

Swedish prosecutor Mariann Ny revealed the information in a statement on her website, announcing the decision to appeal.

The position was confirmed by the Swedish prosecutor's office, which told the UK's Guardian newspaper that it had "not got a view on bail".

Assange arrived for the appeal hearing in the High Court in London earlier today.

The hearing began at 11:30 GMT in Court 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice, and is expected to last two hours.

The 39-year-old Australian was granted bail at a hearing on Tuesday at Westminster Magistrates Court, having spent a week in solitary confinement in London's Wandsworth Prison - but an appeal against the decision has meant that he remains in custody.

Celebrities including documentary maker Michael Moore, journalist John Pilger, film director Ken Loach, author Tariq Ali and socialite Jemima Khan chipped in to raise sureties totalling more than £200,000 to secure bail.

A personal friend of Assange's, restaurant designer Sarah Saunders, donated her personal wealth of £150,000.

Assange's solicitor, Mark Stephens, today confirmed that the cash had now been raised to meet the sureties, which cannot be provided by cheque.

In a break from tradition, the judge in Tuesday's hearing gave his explicit permission for journalists to send updates via Twitter from the courtroom - a practice the judge presiding over today's hearing was quick to refuse.

More details on the progress of the hearing as soon as we have them.