ShareThis Page
Assange refuses extradition to U.S.; long legal fight expected | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Assange refuses extradition to U.S.; long legal fight expected

Associated Press
1102530_web1_1102530-d8acebcf025f4ef98fbbee65559252d4
AP
Protestors brandish posters depicting Julian Assange as they demonstrate at the entrance of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, May 2, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Assange is expected to appear by video link from prison. Assange is facing a court hearing over a U.S. request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.
1102530_web1_1102530-060aa99121b047f99fb1cf9f8562437c
AP
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being taken from court, where he appeared on charges of jumping British bail seven years ago, in London, Wednesday May 1, 2019. Assange has been jailed for 50 weeks for breaching his bail after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
1102530_web1_1102530-9fc4463d4bb441ad83a73735d11e39a6
AP
Media and supporters wait at the entrance of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, May 2, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear by video link from prison. Assange is facing a court hearing over a U.S. request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.
1102530_web1_1102530-555ed28494124232b8a00240c194a43b
AP
Kristinn Hrafnnson, Wikileaks editor in chief, addresses the media at the entrance to Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, May 2, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear by video link from prison. Assange is facing a court hearing over a U.S. request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.
1102530_web1_1102530-b5dfec620f8d453f8e4ec21381f4b33c
AP
Protestors demonstrate at the entrance of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, May 2, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear by video link from prison. Assange is facing a court hearing over a U.S. request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.
1102530_web1_1102530-4010ad0b74944555bae330b078d54b74
AP
Media and supporters wait at the entrance to Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, May 2, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear by video link from prison. Assange is facing a court hearing over a U.S. request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.

LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a London court on Thursday that he would not agree to be extradited to the United States, where he is accused of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.

Assange, appearing by video link from a London prison, said he would not “surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.”

Wearing jeans and a sports jacket, Assange appeared calm during the brief hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Judge Michael Snow said it would likely be “many months” before a full hearing was held on the substance of the U.S. extradition case. The judge set a procedural hearing for May 30, with a substantive hearing to follow on June 12.

The 47-year-old Australian was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in prison in the U.K. for jumping bail in 2012 and holing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. At the time, he was facing extradition to Sweden for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations made by two women.

Assange says he sought asylum because he feared being sent to the U.S. to face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified U.S. military documents.

U.S. authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

Manning served several years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. She was jailed again in March after refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the secret-spilling organization.

Ben Brandon, a lawyer representing the U.S. government, said in court Thursday that U.S. investigators had obtained details of chatroom communications between Manning and Assange in 2010. Brandon said the pair had “engaged in real time discussions regarding Chelsea Manning’s dissemination of confidential records to Mr. Assange.”

He said the documents allegedly downloaded from a classified U.S. computer included 90,000 activity reports from the war in Afghanistan, 400,000 Iraq war-related reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments and 250,000 State Department cables.

The U.S. charge against Assange carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, but he is worried the U.S. could add further, more serious allegations against him.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Wednesday that the extradition battle was “a question of life and death” for Assange.

A few dozen WikiLeaks supporters holding signs reading “Free Assange” and “No extradition” gathered outside the London courthouse before Thursday’s hearing.

Some who had waited for two hours hoping to get in were bitterly disappointed when those seats were filled by journalists and lawyers. They shouted angrily at court staff and complained they were being discriminated against for backing Assange.

Assange was arrested last month in London after his relationship with his embassy hosts went sour and Ecuador revoked his political asylum.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.