Assange’s Lawyers Demand Delay To Extradition Hearing Over Coronavirus: ‘Cannot Go Ahead’


Jack Taylor, Getty

Lawyers for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will urge a London court on Monday to delay his extradition hearing due to concerns surrounding covid-19.

His attorneys announced Friday that they’ll ask the court to delay the hearing due to a lack of access to their client that’s resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. Reportedly, the Wikileaks publisher met his lawyers last week for the first time in a month to prepare for his current court date on May 18th.

“Assange’s lawyers will argue that they have not had full and unfettered access to their client. The onset of the coronavirus crisis has reduced that already restricted access to unacceptably low levels,” said Wikileaks on Friday. “Julian Assange will not even be able to appear by video link at Westminster court on Monday because he has been advised on medical grounds that moving to, and using, the video link room in the prison is too great a risk.”

The United States Justice Department is requesting the UK extradite the imprisoned Assange so he can face charges for allegedly violating the Espionage Act. Assange was arrested back in 2019 after his asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy was revoked.

This is the second attempt by Assange’s lawyers to have the upcoming trial due to covid-19 but District Judge Vanessa Baraistser denied the request back in early April, the Washington Times reports.

“It is quite clear that this hearing cannot go ahead in just a few week’s time,” said Wikileaks ambassador Joseph Farrell. “Julian’s lawyers cannot prepare adequately, witnesses will not be able to travel, and journalists and the public will not have free, adequate and safe access to the proceedings. Justice will neither be done, nor seen to be done.”

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK currently stands at 149,000 resulting in over 20,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.

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