Julian Assange to fight U.S. extradition bid in London court

2020-09-07 16:09:46CGTN Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's lawyers will face off against the U.S. at an extradition hearing as the 49-year-old fight for his freedom.

Assange faces charges under the U.S. Espionage Act for the 2010 release of a trove of secret files detailing aspects of U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Assange could be jailed for 175 years if convicted on all 17 Espionage Act charges and one count of computer hacking that he faces.

His lawyers say the prosecution is a politically motivated abuse of power that will stifle press freedom and put journalists at risk.

AP quotes Assange's attorney Jennifer Robinson to say the case “is fundamentally about basic human rights and freedom of speech."

"Journalists and whistle-blowers who reveal illegal activity by companies or governments and war crimes – such as the publications Julian has been charged for – should be protected from prosecution," she said.

Assange spent much of the past decade holed up in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden.

He continued to coordinate WikiLeaks and in 2016 during the U.S. presidential campaign he published thousands of hacked documents linked to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Assange was to spend almost seven years in the embassy, before a change of Presidency in Ecuador saw him lose his protected status.

In April 2019 he was dragged from the embassy and taken into custody and subsequently jailed for 50 weeks for jumping bail.

(With input from agencies)


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