Julian Assange extradition hearing booked

At a protest for Assange

A placard an an earlier protest

THE EXTRADITION hearing for Julian Assange has been rescheduled for September. Julian faces 17 charges of espionage in the US for his role in leaking US Department of Defense files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq via Wikileaks in 2010. Were he to be extradited, this would have considerable implications for the freedom of the press and for public interest journalism.

His lawyers told a court hearing today that Covid-19 restrictions have meant that they have been unable to get proper access to him in Belmarsh maximum security prison. A socially-distanced conference-call hearing today suffered glitches when, it it was reported, the clerk court forgot to let journalists joining remotely hear the audio feed.

Meanwhile, Julian's lawyers say he has a pre-existing lung condition which makes him particularly vulnerable to covid-19 while in Belmarsh and prevented him joining today's call.

In the nature of these things a further postponement beyond September is not impossible.