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    HomeWorldCrucial Assange hearing enters second round

    Crucial Assange hearing enters second round

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    The Wikileaks founder wants to defend himself in an appeal against the threat of extradition to the USA. But it is uncertain whether the judges in London will give him the opportunity to do so.

    The crucial hearing in the legal tug-of-war over the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is entering its second round today. After the 52-year-old's lawyers presented their arguments to the London High Court on Tuesday, the opposing side's plea is now expected. It was initially unclear when a decision would be made. However, it was expected that it would not be announced immediately after the second day of hearings.

    For Assange, the two-day hearing is the last hope of preventing his extradition to the USA before the British courts. He hopes for a full appeal hearing. However, if he fails with his application, the legal options in Great Britain would be exhausted. Then his only option would be to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. His wife Stella Assange fears he could be put on a plane to the US within days. He could then possibly take his own life, she warns.

    Assange faces 175 years in prison

    The US government wants to put the Australian on trial in the USA on espionage charges. He faces up to 175 years in prison. Washington accuses him of stealing and publishing secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, thereby endangering the lives of US informants.

    US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller declined to comment directly on the case. However, when asked by a reporter whether the US government considered Assange a journalist, he responded generally that “hacking into anything to steal government information” or helping to do so is “not a legitimate journalistic activity.” A free press was supported in the United States and around the world. However, hacking is a crime.

    Assange's lawyers, on the other hand, see the prosecution as a retaliatory action by Washington because Wikileaks also uncovered war crimes through its publications. His supporters even accuse the US secret service CIA of having made plans to kidnap or even murder Assange.

    Appeals for release also from Germany

    Human rights organizations and journalists' associations around the world are campaigning for the 52-year-old's release. The chairman of the Parliamentary Control Committee of the Bundestag, Konstantin von Notz (Greens), emphasized that the USA does not share the legal understanding of press freedom in this specific case. Both Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and the Federal Government's Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtberg, made this clear to their partners in Great Britain and the USA, Notz told the editorial network Germany (RND).

    Wikileaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg told RND that he hoped Assange would be released. A fair trial cannot be expected in the USA.

    Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen from the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance described Assange's imprisonment for almost five years as a “disgrace for the whole of Europe”. He was locked up in the high-security Belmarsh prison in a prison cell measuring just two by three meters, “solely to ensure extradition to the USA,” said Dagdelen, according to a statement. She accused the federal government of inaction.

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