WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in court to fight extradition - GulfToday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in court to fight extradition


Demonstrators hold banners during a protest outside of Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Hannah McKay/Reuters

Julian Assange was in court on Monday to fight his repatriation to the United States. The WikiLeaks founder was charged for being involved in hacking into a Pentagon computer.

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Demonstrator holds a banner calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be freed in London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

In June, the Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order for Assange to be repatriated. The WikiLeaks founder was accused by the US authorities of conniving with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a government computer. 

According to his legal team, more time is needed to prepare the case. Thus, delaying his full extradition hearing which is now set for five days in February.

Lawyer Mark Summers, representing Assange, says more time is needed to prepare Assange's defense against "unprecedented" use of espionage charges against a journalist. Summers said the case has many facets and will require a "mammoth" amount of planning and preparation.

A pedestrian passes a graffiti mural of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London. AFP

Representing the US, lawyer James Lewis said the US would oppose any delay to the proceeding.

The case will take a while before a conclusion is drawn on it, with all parties involved making several appeals of rulings.


A demonstrator holds a banner outside of Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Reuters

The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, including former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and outside the courthouse others carried placards calling for Assange to be released.

Assange raised a fist in a defiant gesture to acknowledge his supporters in the gallery at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a case management hearing. He was clean shaven and wearing a blue sweater and sports jacket. He read his name to the court when asked and gave his date of birth.

Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London while the extradition case is being prepared. He is facing a number of serious charges including espionage.

Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.

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