The Westminster Magistrate’s Court ruled on the issue Friday.
Tristan Kirk, courts reporter for the London Evening Standard reported on the decision. He said he had to argue his way into the court room after a security guard barred the media from entering the public hearing which lasted under 30 minutes. The full hearing will last five days.
The Magistrate’s Court hearing
As Ben Brandon , the lawyer representing the US went through a summary of the accusations against Assange that included that he had cracked a US defense account network password, Assad interjected that he had not broken any password whatsoever. Assange said to the court that 175 years of his life were at stake according to Sky News. Presumably he means that this is what his total sentence could be. He told the presiding judge whom he addressed as Lady Arbuthnot that Wikileaks was nothing but a publisher.
Mark Summers an Assange lawyer told the court that there were a multiplicity of profound issues surrounding the Assange extradition case and said: “We say it represents an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights,”
British official signs US extradition request
Sajiiid Javid, the UK Home Secretary signed the US extradition order on Wednesday and said the next day: “I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”
The two sides in the extradition battle will now have about 8 months to prepare their cases
Assange will stay in Belmarsh prison until the end of March 2020
Assange addressed the court through a video link with Belmarsh prison. Assange is serving a 50-week sentence as a punishment for skipping bail on a Swedish sexual assault investigation. He was wanted for questioning in Sweden. Assange thought that the Swedish extradition was a ploy to have him extradited from Sweden to the US. In June back in 2012 Assange fled for refuge to the Ecuadorean embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden and as mentioned he thought then to the US. However, after a new government took power in Ecuador the UK police were allowed to enter the embassy and arrest Assange on April 11 this year.
Assange was recently transferred to the medical wing of Belmarsh
A recent article reports: “Julian Assange has been moved to a medical wing in Belmarsh prison over concerns for his “significantly deteriorated” health, WikiLeaks has claimed. The website said there are “grave concerns” for its founder as he has “dramatically lost weight” during his seven weeks in prison, and his condition has made it difficult for him to talk.”
Assange seems to have recovered enough to participate by videolink in the recent hearing.