Julian Assange's extradition hearing postponed amid Covid-19 pandemic, earliest available date November


WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange's US extradition hearing in London has been delayed, potentially till November, due to the coronavirus pandemic with his defense arguing it made the proceedings “medically dangerous.”

Assange’s extradition case has been delayed again after his defense lawyers said the coronavirus outbreak made his trial “impossible” and “medically dangerous.”

A hearing, held by video link at Westminster Magistrates Court, heard that the case could be postponed until as late as November 2, the earliest date where three consecutive weeks are available.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser vacated the planned hearing on May 18 saying the court would reconvene in a week to fix a date to hear Assange’s case in full.

The prosecution supported the defense’s appeal that it's “oppressive under the circumstances to require Mr Assange" to come to the courtroom while Britain was locked down. Judge Baraitser said that both Assange and lawyers for both the defense and prosecution should be “physically present” in the court for the hearing.

Assange’s legal team appealed last month for the Australian-born journalist to be released on bail after outbreaks of Covid-19 in some UK prisons but had their application denied. He appeared in such poor health when in court last October, 60 doctors wrote an open letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for him to be moved from Belmarsh Prison to a hospital. His legal team remain concerned for his well-being.

Assange is wanted by the US government for publishing classified military and diplomatic files that proved deeply embarrassing to Washington in 2010. If convicted, he faces up to 175 years in prison.

Source: rt.com