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29 Oct 2020 23:44
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  •   Home > News > International

    British court to give verdict on Julian Assange's extradition to US in January

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have to wait until early next year to find out if he will be extradited to the United States to face charges including espionage, after his hearing finished at a London court on Thursday.


    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have to wait until early next year to find out if he will be extradited to the United States to face charges including espionage, after his hearing finished at a London court on Thursday.

    US authorities accuse Assange, 49, of conspiring to hack government computers and of violating an espionage law in connection with the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.

    Judge Vanessa Baraitser told London's Old Bailey Court at the conclusion of hearings from witnesses in the case that she would deliver her verdict on January 4.

    "Unless any further application for bail is made, and between now and the 4th of January, you will remain in custody for the same reasons as have been given to you before," she told Assange, who was sitting behind a security screen at the back of the court.

    The judge has previously denied Assange bail over fears he is a flight risk.

    Assange jumped bail in 2012 when he sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he ended up staying for seven years before being evicted and subsequently arrested.

    He has been in a London prison since April 2019.

    She also told Assange that he will have to appear via video link to the courts every 28 days between now and her ruling.

    Assange's defence team have asked for another four weeks to submit their closing argument to the judge.

    That will be followed two weeks later by the closing argument of lawyers acting on behalf of the US Government, and a subsequent response a few days later from Assange's team.

    Assange's lawyers argue that the charges are politically motivated, that his mental health is at risk, that conditions in US prisons breach Britain's human rights laws, and that he and his lawyers were spied on while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy.

    The legal team representing the United States have countered that many of those arguments are issues which should be addressed in a trial, and have no bearing on extradition.

    ABC/wires

    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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