LONDON, June 14. /TASS/. A five-day hearing of the US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be held after February 24, 2020, TASS reports the judge said that during the procedural hearing at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, where the extradition request is being considered.
Assange’s lawyers agreed with the dates proposed by the British prosecution, claiming that the US is demanding his extradition on the accusations relating to “one of the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” The WikiLeaks founder himself appeared in the court via video link denied the accusations of conspiring to steal and reveal confidential information, stored on the computers belonging to the US government.
It was also announced that before the main hearing scheduled to last for five days the court will hold two procedural hearings in October and December.
The third hearing of the court that lasted ten minutes was again organized in the small court’s chamber, which could seat only 16 reporters. Assange’s supporters gathered around the closed doors and was shouting in protest against the decision that the majority of them were not allowed in. A few dozen of people are also chanting in support of the WikiLeaks founder, staging a protest in front of the court.
Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment and rape charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012 by two women, Assange sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition to the US, where he uninterruptedly spent almost seven years. In April, the authorities of Ecuador withdrew his asylum, London’s Metropolitan Police immediately arrested him for failing to appear in court under the 2012 warrant, as well as in accordance with the extradition request sent by Washington to the British authorities in 2018.
On May 1, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his British bail conditions.
On May 23, the US Department of Justice unsealed 17 charges against the WikiLeaks founder, which became the basis for issuing the extradition request to London. The charges “relate to disclosures of war crimes and human rights abuses by the US government”, the WikiLeaks website informs. Assange may face up to 175 years behind bars.