Julian Assange begins fight against computer hacking extradition to US by videolink from Belmarsh prison today after being jailed for 11 months for jumping bail and holing up in Ecuadorian embassy
- WikiLeaks’ founder will appear by video link from Belmarsh prison for hearing
- He is currently serving a 50-week prison sentence there for skipping his bail
- Faces extradition to face charges he helped Chelsea Manning hack computer
Julian Assange is set to face a court hearing today over a US request to extradite him for his part in alleged computer hacking.
The WikiLeaks’ founder will appear by video link from Belmarsh prison for the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.
He is accused of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break the password of a classified government computer.
The WikiLeaks’ founder will appear by video link from Belmarsh prison for the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London today
Assange, 47, is currently serving a 50-week prison sentence, which was issued to him yesterday for jumping bail in 2012 and hiding out at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
At the time, the Australian-born journalist was facing extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.
Assange said he did not want to go there due to fears he would immediately be extradited to the US, where he would face hacking charges.
He claimed political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he lived for seven years before his asylum was revoked and he was arrested.
Lawyers say Assange will fight extradition to the US, where he has been charged with helping Chelsea Manning hack a classified Pentagon computer.
Manning served several years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.
She was jailed again in March after refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Wednesday that the extradition battle was ‘a question of life and death’ for Assange.
The 47-year-old is currently serving a 50-week prison sentence which was issued to him yesterday (where he is seen in a court sketch greeting supporters) for jumping bail in 2012
Yesterday, in mitigation for Assange, Mark Summers QC told the court his client had been ‘gripped’ by fears of extradition to the US over the years because of his work with WikiLeaks.
He said: ‘As threats rained down on him from America, they overshadowed everything as far as he was concerned. They dominated his thoughts. They were not invented by him, they were gripping him throughout.’
Mr Summers said Assange’s fears that he could face rendition from Sweden to the US were well founded and ‘not a figment of his imagination’.
Sweden at the time, he said, had a ‘well documented and unfortunate history’ of sending ‘people to states where they were at significant risk of ill treatment including torture and death’.
There were reports of discussions between Sweden and the US over the matter, Mr Summers said. ‘That’s not a figment of his imagination,’ he added. ‘They were reasonable fears.’