Assange in Court: What’s Happened So Far

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London began Monday – what will the UK court’s decision be?

Assange’s Case

48-year-old Julian Assange is finally in court for extradition hearings after seven years of refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy and months in London’s Belmarsh prison. The WikiLeaks co-founder was indicted in the US in 2010 on 18 counts of illegally obtaining, receiving and disclosing classified information.

American officials are requesting an extradition from the UK so that Assange can face his charges in the US court, with US government lawyer James Lewis arguing that despite many’s protests, the case isn’t about journalis,, but about the importance of classified documents:

“Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a license to break ordinary criminal laws. … These are ordinary criminal charges and any person, journalist or source who hacks or attempts to gain unauthorized access to a secure system or aids and abets others to do so is guilty of computer misuse,” Lewis told the Woolwich Crown Court, per The New York Times.

Assange’s lawyers are approaching the case from a political standpoint – with the argument that the case severely changed when Trump’s presidential mandate began, and that the charges were politically motivated.

Many protesters have been calling for Assange’s release since the weekend, with protests all around the courthouse on Monday as well, with some of the participants being public figures like Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and iconic fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

Assange and his lawyers have been dismissing many claims in the UK court, stating that it was in fact the Guardian newspaper who was responsible for the published names, as well as that Mr. Assange expressed his concern over the documents and had even called then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton to “do something” since “people’s lives are put at risk.”

On Tuesday, Assange's lawyers argued that the the Wikileaks founder was being mistreated as they told the court, “Yesterday, Mr. Assange was handcuffed 11 times and stripped naked twice at Belmarsh and put into five separate holding cells,”

Despite that, no matter how much the case itself is argued, even if Assange is eventually proven innocent, the British court’s job is only to determine whether or not to grant the US government’s extradition request to face his ultimate trial.

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