Assange extradition hearing adjourned until May 18

February 27, 2020

Consortium News is in London to cover the formal extradition process of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and has provided updates throughout the week.


11:30 pm London time:  The judge has adjourned the hearings a day earlier than planned. It will resume in Woolwich Crown Court on May 18.

The defense this week seriously undermined the prosecutors’ case that Assange had endangered lives of informants, had “solicited” classified material from Chelsea Manning, and had helped Manning crack a password to enter a government computer. The defense showed Manning had legal access to the database and did not need a user name or password. Assange was helping her download video games and movies forbidden to U.S. soldiers.

The defense also laid out its evidence that Assange actually worked to protect informants; and that Manning had not responded to WikiLeaks‘ solicitations, a charge that ignores that  asking sources for classified information is a routine journalistic practice.

The last two days of the hearings were consumed by the question of whether Assange was being accused of political offenses, and whether the British-U.S. extradition treaty or British domestic law on extraditions would apply.  The question of whether Assange was being given a fair trial also arose, given that he is cut off from communication with his attorneys during the proceedings, while being locked in a glass cage behind them.

Assange lawyer Jen Robinson summed up the week and Kristinn Hrafnsson Thursday’s events:

6:00 pm London time: The argument continued from Wednesday about whether Britain’s domestic Extradition Act of 2003 or the 2007 U.S.-British Extraction Treaty takes precedence.

Back to the argument whether WikiLeaks has had an effect on policy, defense made this point: