Assange to Face 5-Day Extradition Hearing in February 2020

Decision on Assange’s fate will not come for at least another eight months.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

A decision on whether Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act will not come until the end of February 2020 at the earliest, the Westminster Magistrate’s Court ruled on Friday.

Tristan Kirk, the London Evening Standard‘s courts reporter, tweeted:

Kirk said he argued his way into the court room after he and the rest of the media had been barred by a security guard from entering the public hearing that lasted under 30 minutes.

Reuters reported:

As Ben Brandon, the lawyer representing the United States, ran through a summary of the accusations against him including that he had cracked a U.S. defence network password, Assange said: “I didn’t break any password whatsoever.”

The WikiLeaks publisher told the court that “175 years of my life is effectively at stake,” according to Sky News. He addressed the judge as Lady Arbuthnot, saying: “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher.”  Mark Summers, a lawyer representing Assange, told the court there are a “multiplicity of profound issues” with the extradition case, Sky News reported. 

“We say it represents an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights,” he said.

Assange spoke to the court via video link from Belmarsh prison where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail on a Swedish sexual assault investigation.  Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012 to avoid onward extradition from Sweden to the United States. He was arrested on April 11 when Ecuador allowed British police to enter the embassy.

The British home secretary signed the extradition request from the U.S. on Wednesday. Sajiid Javid said Thursday: “I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”

Both sides in the extradition battle will now have about eight months to prepare their case.

Assange’s Belmarsh sentence will end at the end of March 2020, meaning he will remain in the maximum security prison until the extradition hearing. 

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44 comments for “Assange to Face 5-Day Extradition Hearing in February 2020

  1. bob
    June 18, 2019 at 04:39

    This is an interesting account of the judge in the uk trial and her ‘conflict of interests’

    https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/06/17/assange-judge-refuses-to-step-down-despite-evidence-of-intelligence-and-defence-links/

    the elites have no boundaries, no principles and certainly no insight into their foulness

    • Andrew F
      June 18, 2019 at 12:00

      Bob, this would be remarkable if it was true – unfortunately it isn’t true.

      The headline of the ‘Canary’ story suggests that the (clearly conflicted) Judge, Lady Arbuthnot was requested to step down but refused.

      The only evidence to support the headline is a link to a Chris Hedges piece at ‘Truth Dig’.

      The only suggestion of such a thing in that piece is a stand-alone single line paragraph strangely placed in the middle of his summary of his interview with Nils Melzer, where he writes:

      “Assange’s lawyers have asked the judge to recuse herself. She has refused.”

      Luckily, RT has a transcript of the interview with Melzer from Hedges’ show “On Contact”. Unfortunately, nowhere in that transcript is there anything to support the ‘Canary’ headline.

      The closest thing is a reference to the conviction hearing on 11th April where, “apparently” (remember, neither Hedges nor Melzer were there) Assange’s lawyer’s made a general reference to the conflicts. The Judge in that case was named “Snow”, Arbuthnot was not there. Here is the part of the transcript I am referring to:

      “NM…The lawyer during the–the legal–the defense counsel during the hearing submitted a file to the judge saying that one of the judges had a strong conflict of interest because her husband had been exposed by WikiLeaks. And so there was a conflict of interest that needed to be investigated, so he had an objection against this hearing. The judge brushed this aside, apparently, and immediately said, I–you know, complained, “How dare you, defense counsel, accuse one of our judges of a conflict of interest,”.

      There has never been a request for her to “recuse”. There can’t be a refusal without a request. Someone is making stuff up out of nowhere again, and it’s getting very tedious. I believe that most of us want Assange to have his voice back, and further to have him freed as soon as possible. I’ve said it many times before and I’m going to keep on saying it – I have very serious doubts about the “team” controlling everything to do with Julian Assange at the moment.

      Ever since it became clear that Judge Arbuthnot was involved in the extradition matter I have been saying that his lawyers should be objecting on the basis of apprehended bias given her previous dismissive comments about Assange during the case to remove the arrest warrant in February 2018. Again, I am bewildered that decision wasn’t appealed either – but it’s way to late to worry about the “team” Assange failure to do that.

      You are quite right that “the elites have no boundaries and no principles”, but it amazes me that so many people seem to think the same elites couldn’t possibly have infiltrated “team” Assange!! The repeated stuff-ups and continuing silencing of his voice make it obvious that such an infiltration is way beyond just a possibility.

  2. Jacquelynn Booth
    June 16, 2019 at 12:31

    Attn: JOE LAURIA
    HEADS UP! Sunday The Duran says Assange will quickly be extradited and charged in US with running a spy agency with Manning as an (implied?) employee hired to spy for Wikileaks. Of course, I don’t know if this is true.
    HOWEVER, I’m familiar with Federal law that defines “Employer-Employee relationships.” It’s through laws, and decisions of the stand-alone agency, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I worked there for 24 years; I know what I’m talking about.
    For Assange to have acted in charge of any “agency,” he had to have “employer”-type control of his “employees.” For Wikileaks to “employ” Manning in the federal definition, Assange/Wikileaks had to control/set up/establish hours of work and agree with Manning as to where her core worksite was, even if it was her residence. It could not be a joint worksite with another employer. If Wikileaks did not have “control” over certain aspects of Manning’s work place & hours, there is no employer-employer relationship. Therefore, lacking that, Manning was not an “agent” for/of Wikileaks/Assange. See CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and policies/decisions of the US EEOC.
    I hope this helps.

    • Jacquelynn Booth
      June 16, 2019 at 12:34

      Correction: employer-employee relationship

  3. June 15, 2019 at 16:42

    We all know that UK is a vasal of USA & their Foreign Secretary Hunt already signed the extradition papers for Julian Assange, the fighter for FREE PRESS & especially the constitutional RIGHT of a journalist to FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. We know NOW that democracy is down the drain & George Orwell’s ‘1984’ has become REALITY. It also proves that the 1% ELITE & MSM are in firm control of manipulating & brainwashing of 99% of the western population! Our only hope is that leaders like Putin & Xi Jinping protects us from the Washington tyranny & slavery!

  4. Cy
    June 15, 2019 at 14:52

    Two things I can’t figure out: Why would Julian still be in Belmarsh necessarily by the time the extradition hearing gets underway? Wouldn’t he be eligible for parole after a portion of his sentence is served?
    And are they really limiting the extradition hearing to just a few days? I so, then how could they possibly cover all of the arguments of such a complex case in that time? (I heard lawyer Jen Robinson say that the case could drag out for several years.)
    And the last point concerns me as there is next to no media coverage of the issues involved. In fact there is only one audible record of the interview with Jen Robinson outside of court for the latest hearing (by Ruptly). And so if they are only in the courts for a few days, then the media will have little time to analyze and digest the issues, not to mention almost no time for response from the public before everything is just decided.

    • Andrew F
      June 16, 2019 at 10:32

      Cy,
      I’m a Barrister. When someone is undergoing extradition proceedings they can be held in custody until that process is concluded (which may include a long appeals period as well).

      Unless there is some special reason to keep the person in custody, they would usually be released on bail. One very strong reason to NOT grant them bail is if they have a previous conviction for breaching bail (especially, as in this case, if they were convicted for breaching bail during a previous extradition process).

      When charged with breaching bail there is a defence of “reasonable cause”. In my opinion, seeking and being granted political asylum would constitute “reasonable cause”.

      Julian Assange has been convicted and given almost the maximum sentence possible for breaching bail. If anyone on his “team” was interested in him ever seeing the light of day again, they would have immediately appealed against both the conviction and the sentence. That probably would have taken some time, and probably would have made some legal history – but it would be worth it. If the conviction was quashed then the sentence would be irrelevant. They only had 28 days from conviction to appeal, and it seems they didn’t do that.

      And, most importantly, there would be almost no argument that he should not be granted bail while the current extradition proceedings take their course. Therefore he would be free, with certain bail conditions, to carry on his life and work and to communicate with the world.

      As a lawyer I am astonished that his “team” hasn’t followed this course. I’d be extremely keen to hear their reasoning for not doing that, but I doubt I would find it compelling.

      • cyennne
        June 16, 2019 at 20:39

        Andrew,

        Thank you for this explanation. It is concerning that his legal team could have appealed and apparently didn’t. With so much at stake in the public interest here, not the least of which is the psychological torture of a journalist as well as the historically unprecedented illegal actions of Ecuador’s Moreno govt, etc., one would expect to hear much more. However the official media is largely to blame. Still, I was surprised at the lack of outcry from his legal team against the obvious biases expressed by the judges. I don’t understand their somewhat meek acceptance of the repeated denials of justice to Assange as “disappointing” outcomes rather than denounce them more strongly for what they are. So, a judge can behave in a disgracefully arrogant and biased way, make snarky personal pronouncements about the defendant, flippantly dismiss the principle points of the defense’s arguments… and the defense lawyer just has to accept this? I’ve never seen anything so absurd. How is it legitimate? Surely they would have objected?

  5. Robert Mayer
    June 15, 2019 at 13:47

    Tnx CN, Joe… note 1 other comment caught Chelsea’s xtended sentence (& fa$c fine).

    Perhaps most agree w/ those commentin below (& to Pilger piece above) re: “RT phenom” wherein freekin COMMIES give higher standard press (& ergo indiv) freedom
    than the home of the lady in the harbor…

    WTF GIVES?

  6. Susan perry. Smith
    June 15, 2019 at 05:17

    Was it actually against the law for sajid javid to have refused to sign. If not . Why is he not being torn to shreds from assanges legal team. Am I missing something here. ?

  7. bob
    June 15, 2019 at 01:55

    1. the british regime is an illegal, undemocratic monster and get away with their travesties because there is no opposition to them in the uk
    2. the british are very used to acting in amerika’s interests rather than any form of justice
    3. the amerikans do not own the planet
    4. the amerikans apart from being stupid are cowards
    5. this is not justice just ice

  8. I f***ed Trumps daughter
    June 14, 2019 at 20:45

    The United Nations need to do more to help Assange. I am an American and I use to work for the US government. What I saw in the US government made me so upset. I am a rebel and proud to fight the corrupt States of America.

  9. June 14, 2019 at 20:05

    The Australian Government’s failure to assist Julian Assange should be universally condemned. Obviously silenced by the ‘bindings’ of the ANZUS Alliance (Australia, New Zealand, United States) such inaction is negligent, pitiful and worthy of international sanction. Linda Cleymans Sydney Australia.

  10. Emma Portman
    June 14, 2019 at 16:59

    As gruesome is the prospect of Assange spending these months in Belmarsh, I was relieved to know that he spoke today. There are rumors that he was injected with BZ . God forbid.

  11. Diana Little
    June 14, 2019 at 16:19

    I would be nice if you added that all “sexual assault charges” have been long since dropped.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 16, 2019 at 14:51

      There never were any charges. He is only wanted for questioning after the probe was dropped twice before.

  12. lexx
    June 14, 2019 at 14:56

    meaning he will remain in the maximum security prison until the extradition hearing.

    and that is the purpose of this charade
    to keep him in jail

  13. Andrew Thomas
    June 14, 2019 at 12:15

    The U.K. will have until February of 2020 to torture Assange in Belmarsh. And it has joined the USA in making not only seeking, but receiving, asylum, a criminal offense. Good show, lads.

    • lexx
      June 14, 2019 at 14:59

      until the end of February 2020 at the earliest

      thy will drag this out for many months maybe even years and all this time they can/will keep him in prison

    • Val Taire
      June 14, 2019 at 16:25

      How does this ruling affect Chelsea? Will she too, remained jailed until March 2020?

      The scope of Hillary’s hatred, her evilness to silence whistleblowers is unending and brutal. Her first political refugee victim is Harmon Wilfred. Julian is Hillary’s second political refugee. Chelsea is her third victim.

      Harmon, CIA contractor who had evidence of Clinton’s money laundering, has lived thirty years of a hellish nightmare. With the aid of Canada, NZ and corrupt US officials, ie: Michael Horwitz (now IG DOJ) and Greg Craig (now facing FARA trial), Harmon has been stripped of his passport, is stateless with no legal standing. Should he attempt to leave NZ, he faces immediate arrest and jailing. NZ government has attempted to bankrupt Harmon, has blacklisted him, making employment impossible. His Canadian wife was banned at all ports of call, courtesy of Hillary and her cabal. Should Harmon’s wife attempt to visit him, her passport too will be removed.

      CrowdSource The Truth has done excellent interviews with the Wilfred”s. You can al research Harmon’s legal journey at harmonwilfred.com or luminadiem. The world must be educated about HRC’s dark, vindictive and psychopathic nature. Please end her days of psychologically torturing and incarcerating innocent victims for her war and financial crimes. It is Hillary that must be incarcerated and held legally accountable for destroying the lives of whistleblowers and their families.

  14. June 14, 2019 at 12:04

    No More War

  15. MichaelWme
    June 14, 2019 at 11:34

    This started to become a serious threat to the media in the UK under Cameron and in the US under Obama. The BBC lost its independence. The old and honest Guardian was shut down and replaced by an organisation that only parrots the official US/UK line. Obama gaoled more whistleblowers than all the other presidents combined. The US establishment media agreed not to publish any criticism of Obama, and rejected all the material discovered, with sources and proof, by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
    And the Obama/Cameron war on honest reporting has just gotten more intense under Trump and May, and will eventually ensure that only the official government version is readily accessible, and anyone who says otherwise can be gaoled for Life without Parole, as seems inevitable for Assange.

    • Theo
      June 15, 2019 at 10:02

      Same applies for the EU establishment media.One hardly ever reads any criticism about the EU institutions let alone the monetary policies of the ECB.You have to switch to the well reputed Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) or media which are not rooted in the EU.Switzerland is no member of the EU.

  16. June 14, 2019 at 10:57

    An eloquent talk given by Chris Hedges to a group in London supporting Assange recently is published on Truthdig, titled “The Thought Police Are Coming”. Hedges shows that it will first be Julian and then all who dissent. Which is why we must organize support both locally and nationally between now and Julian’s extradition date. The crackdown is happening worldwide but viciously in the US under Pompeo, Haspel, all the state players who want their behavior buried. Breaking through the lies about Julian will be crucial, many people do not know.

  17. jmg
    June 14, 2019 at 10:14

    Meanwhile, investigative journalist Ivan Golunov has been freed after Russian news media united to support him. President Vladimir Putin has fired two top police generals involved in the arrest of the journalist.

    • rosemerry
      June 14, 2019 at 16:05

      Of course, the fuss from the “democratic West” took over, and the “FM Jeremy Hunt” who blames Assange for his work, pretended to care about a nothingburger Russian.

  18. Eric Schwing
    June 14, 2019 at 08:54

    I feel like the Jews of NAZI GERMANY, FASCIST GERMAN CAPITALISM, who watch every so called “liberal institution” degenerate into JUDICIAL FASCISM, police Fascism, corrupted by years of corporate, class, Empire corruption, endless betrayals, endless right wing compromises. It must be said, that the whole Western edifice, with its Fascist alliances, Fascist regimes, Fascist coups use the law like toilet paper to carry out illegal spying, illegal persecution of social critics, journalists, whistleblowers. The very same Fascist elites, both in Britain, U.S. celebrating the military defeat of NAZI GERMANY, at Normandy, which was largely accomplished, YET IGNORED by all Western elites, by the former Soviet Union, are the same FASCIST, CLASS FORCES/ELITES that reproduced Hitler, and after W.W. II OPENED THE FLOODGATES to capitalist Despotism that led to today’s GLOBAL FASCIST MATRIX.

    • Lily
      June 14, 2019 at 10:39

      The D-Day Clebrations in Germany were a rather sad affair. I think to lie about the part that was played by Russia including their sacrifices and the amount of Russians who lost their lives in this war should be punished in the same way as the denial of the Holocaust.

      I hope from all my heart that Julien Assange will survive for so long. The news about his physical and psychological conditions are not at all good. May he prevail and be free in the end!

      At least there is time for the mainstream media to realize what is at stake so they can start to sing a different song – and there is time for the #freeAssange movement to keep growing.

      God bless you, Julien!

    • Boothe
      June 14, 2019 at 11:24

      And Soviet Marxism was so much better how?

      • Litchfield
        June 14, 2019 at 12:07

        I think the commenter’s point is that fascism is alive today.
        Soviet Marxism is not (AFAIK).
        So this sounds like a trollish comment.

      • June 14, 2019 at 13:45

        Has that become our level?

        • Brian
          June 15, 2019 at 19:06

          Pretty much. Take a look at the state of western “civilization.” Nothing but a slow motion train wreck.

      • rosemerry
        June 14, 2019 at 16:09

        Not relevant. At least Stalin helped his country fight against the Nazis and win.

  19. Alan Ross
    June 14, 2019 at 08:54

    Time can help. Assange is certainly not Christ but Javid is in the tradition of Pontius Pilate. He just ruined his life.

  20. June 14, 2019 at 08:45

    All of this while the real slime are free to run the world into oblivion – there is no justice,,,

  21. Brendan
    June 14, 2019 at 08:11

    When he was given the 50-week sentence, it was widely reported that he would only have to serve about half of that. It looks now like he could be in Belmarsh even longer than the full sentence – until the next move is decided.

    • Andrew F
      June 15, 2019 at 05:35

      It does seem to be a possibility that such a sentence is usually half served, but this has never been confirmed by the “Wikileaks” team. The journalist mentioned in this piece, Tristan Kirk, confirms that Assange is appealing against the 50 week sentence (he writes “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is appealing against the 50-week prison sentence…a court heard today”). Nils Melzer also reported that Assange was working on his appeal against the sentence. We have heard absolutely nothing whatsoever from Wikileaks or the lawyers about this appeal – for such a high profile case, that strikes me as extraordinary. As a Barrister, I can think of no reason whatsoever why they didn’t also appeal against the bail conviction itself (they had 28 days from conviction to do that). To my mind that’s insanity. They should have run the “reasonable cause” defence to the charge of failing to appear when on bail. They should have appealed the conviction and the sentence. Now that he has the bail conviction, there is almost zero chance that he will be granted bail while he fights the extradition proceedings. What all of that means is that, yes, even if the usual time served would be half, he will be in jail until the extradition proceedings – which could well include years of appeals – are finally concluded. I have very serious doubts about the circle of people who seem to be running everything to do with Assange at present. Also, as we saw with his letter to Gordon Dimmack and again today, whenever Assange gets the chance to communicate directly he does so – quite forcefully. The “team” still hasn’t passed on to the outside world one single direct word from Assange in the 15 months since he was first cut off communications in the embassy, and there is even less reason to continue doing so now that he is in the prison. There is no legal or other restriction that could explain this silencing, and the fact that it is apparently being done by his own “team” is deeply disturbing and highly frustrating.

      • June 16, 2019 at 08:11

        Andrew F, I hope your line of reasoning will be pursued, i.e., the Assange team makeup, their strategy and their actions. Everything in such a high stakes case needs to be looked at.

        “The “team” still hasn’t passed on to the outside world one single direct word from Assange in the 15 months since he was first cut off communications in the embassy, and there is even less reason to continue doing so now that he is in the prison. There is no legal or other restriction that could explain this silencing, and the fact that it is apparently being done by his own “team” is deeply disturbing and highly frustrating”

        Troubling.

        • Andrew F
          June 16, 2019 at 09:49

          Thanks Herman. I hope more people also ask these questions, and we get answers.

          In a further indication that Assange is never coming out, in the interview outside Belmarsh this week his father said that he was “looking forward” to the end of the sentence because then he would be “on remand” (which means still in jail but with slightly more visiting rights etc.. than when in jail under a sentence).

          Under the UK prison system he is allowed to write unlimited numbers of letters from prison. For someone who was such a prolific “tweeter” until March 28th 2018, it is beyond implausible that he suddenly has no desire to write anything for people on the outside to hear (again, the Gordon Dimmack letter proves the opposite – and tellingly, the “Wikileaks” twitter account has not even acknowledged either that letter or the illicit prison images/video. Why not?).

          Assange is definitely being silenced by the shadowy people who apparently comprise his “team”. Yes, troubling it is.

  22. David Salter
    June 14, 2019 at 07:44

    Let’s hope we can get this useless, corrupt Tory government out of office before Assange’s hearing. A Corbyn-led Labour government will not be so eager to appease the US in thier war-crimes coverup.

    • RF
      June 14, 2019 at 12:17

      I don’t believe that for a minute. We will see more Kabuki theater as the mainstream left is just another bought-and-paid-for arm of the globalists.

    • Lily
      June 14, 2019 at 13:00

      That is what i hope and i think Corbyn has a good chance.

      How is it possible that the report of Nils Melzer has no consequences up to now? Did i miss anything? What about the Red Cross or Amnesty International interfering by meeting Assange in Belmarsh Prison? The UK could easily kill him. There are many different ways of achieving that.

      It is rather ironic that Wladimir Putin, President of the Land of the utmost Evil, offers asylum to Edward Snowdon and has just released a journalist. I am quite glad that there are still diplomats like Putin and his Foreign Minister Lawrow.

      • geeyp
        June 14, 2019 at 16:02

        Thank you Lily.

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