Assange advised to cease interrupting witnesses at UK listening to

London, September 8

A British choose advised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday that his extradition listening to will proceed with out him if he continues to talk from the dock and interrupt witnesses.

Vanessa Baraitser briefly adjourned the listening to at London’s Central Criminal Court after Assange interrupted defence witness Clive Stafford Smith, who was giving proof. Assange’s outburst couldn’t be heard by journalists following proceedings by video hyperlink.

Assange is preventing an try by American prosecutors to extradite him to the US to face trial on spying costs. US prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and pc misuse costs over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret US navy paperwork a decade in the past. The costs carry a most sentence of 175 years in jail.

Assange’s attorneys say the prosecution is a politically motivated abuse of energy that can stifle media freedom and put journalists in danger around the globe.

Addressing Assange, the choose stated: “You will hear things, no doubt many things, you disagree with during these proceedings.”

“If you interrupt proceedings it is open to me to proceed in your absence,” she added.

On Monday, when the listening to opened, Baraitser rejected requests by Assange’s attorneys to delay his extradition listening to till subsequent yr to allow them to have extra time to answer US allegations that he conspired with hackers to acquire labeled info.

The case has already been delayed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stafford Smith, who based the nonprofit rights group Reprieve, advised the court docket Tuesday that WikiLeaks helped expose alleged US battle crimes in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

American authorities allege that Assange conspired with US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack right into a Pentagon pc and launch a whole lot of 1000’s of secret diplomatic cables and navy information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a brand new indictment introduced in June, the US Justice Department expanded its case, accusing Assange of recruiting hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia, recruiting a young person to hack into the pc of a former WikiLeaks affiliate and conspiring with members of hacking teams often called LulzSec and Anonymous.

US prosecutors say the proof underscores Assange’s efforts to obtain and launch labeled info.

Assange’s attorneys argue that he’s a journalist entitled to First Amendment safety and say the leaked paperwork uncovered US navy wrongdoing.

The case is because of run till early October. The choose is predicted to take weeks and even months to think about her verdict, with the shedding facet prone to attraction. — AP

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