Assange court hearing postponement raises questions in UK

Assange court hearing postponement raises questions in UK

Assange court hearing postponement raises questions in UK

Written by Reuters

31 May, 2019 | 10:03 am

REUTERS: Supporters of WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange demonstrated outside a London court after the extradition hearing was called off at short notice on Thursday morning. According to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the hearing will be adjourned until around June 12 due to Assange’s poor health and will take place at a local court near the prison where he is being held.

It was supposed to be the second procedural hearing in Assange’s extradition case since May 2. Expressing concerns over his health, Assange’s supporters who came for the hearing are also angry about his treatment by both the court and in prison. Many demonstrators believe he was tortured illegally.

Maksim Walker, one of the supporters of Assange, said that both the public and the media should pay attention to the situation. “Bail offence, that is a minor offence, in a maximum security prison, Belmarsh, in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. He’s unable to talk to his lawyers, he’s totally isolated and he’s now ill as a consequence. He published the truth, 100 per cent accurate by WikiLeaks and now he is being persecuted, tortured and detained. That says a lot about what the rulers of these countries, including Sweden and the USA and Britain, want to see happen to Julian Assange,” said Walker.

Those who came for the hearing joined the demonstrators outside the court one after another. Assange appeared in his first hearing via video-link at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court from the high-security Belmarsh prison on May 2.

Ecuador withdrew the diplomatic asylum granted to Assange on April 11. On May 1, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in London for violating his bail by taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012. Assange took refuge in the embassy to evade a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden over accusations of alleged sex crimes. Washington demanded his extradition over charges of conspiracy after the release of classified military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks in 2010. The accusations could lead to a prison term of up to five years.

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