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    HomeWorldWikiLeaks founder fails to appear in court in London

    WikiLeaks founder fails to appear in court in London


    At the court hearing in London, everything is at stake for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. It will be decided whether he will be extradited to the USA. But he isn't there himself.

    What may be the final hearing on the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the USA began in London on Tuesday. The 52-year-old hopes to be able to appeal against his threatened transfer again. A previously rejected application for this was to be reconsidered at the two-day hearing in the High Court. Assange did not personally attend the meeting. According to his lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, he felt unwell. Fitzgerald emphasized that his client was being prosecuted because of “ordinary journalistic practice.”

    In front of the Royal Courts of Justice, hundreds of people chanted and held banners demanding Assange's release. Assange's wife Stella addressed the demonstrators from a stage: “There are two important days ahead of us. We don't know what to expect, but you are here because the world is watching.”

    It was not initially clear when exactly a decision would be made on the appeal. However, Stella Assange fears that the 52-year-old could be put on a plane to the USA within days.

    The legal battle has been going on for years

    If the application for appeal is not granted, legal recourse in Great Britain would be exhausted. The US Department of Justice wants to put him on trial in the USA on espionage charges. If convicted there, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison.

    In the event of a rejection, Assange would still have to go to the European Court of Human Rights. Stella Assange announced that his team would immediately file an application for an interim injunction to prevent immediate extradition. However, there are concerns that the British government could ignore such an order.

    The legal tug of war over Assange has been going on for years. The US government accuses Assange of having, together with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, stolen and published secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby endangering the lives of US informants. Supporters see Assange as a journalist who exposed war crimes. He has been in custody in London's Belmarsh maximum security prison since April 2019.

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