In the first of many extradition court hearings today, when asked by Judge Michael Snow if he consented to be extradited, Julian Assange replied, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that’s won many, many awards and affected many people.” (He also is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee in 2019).
The hearing was very short and consisted of a U.S. spokesperson stating charges of hacking as reason for extradition. (To my knowledge the actual arrest warrant has still not been executed.) Hearing was adjourned until May 30th and a substantial hearing scheduled for June 12th. I assume this wil be when actual evidence will be presented to the court.
In an article from CNN,
“Lawyer Ben Brandon, representing the US government, said that the provisional arrest warrant for the 47-year-old was based on an indictment filed in Virginia for “one offense of attempting to access a computer without consent and accessing a computer without authorization.”
Chelsea Manning (a former US Army intelligence specialist) downloaded a vast amount of classified documents. This included four databases with nearly 90,000 Afghan war reports, 400,000 Iraq significant activity reports … (and) 250,000 state department cables,” Brandon said.
Manning then provided the documents to WikiLeaks, Brandon continued. He added that evidence collected during the course of the US investigation showed the pair “unlawfully conspired to effect these disclosures” and that Assange “agreed to help Manning crack a password that was connected to a government server.”
Brandon said the maximum sentence for this type of offense is five years, adding that the full request from the US government had not yet been received.”
Julian Assange’s only real crime was doing investigative journalism as it should be done. In previous article I reveal how there is still a secret indictment by the FBI being held for once Assange is extradited.
According to the same CNN article:
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Members of Parliament on April 11 that the US has up to 65 days — or until mid-June — to send full extradition papers.
“They have the ability to add more charges before the 15th of June but our main concern is the fact that the allegations that are being made engage protected journalistic activities,” Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Assange, told CNN after the court adjourned on Thursday.
No doubt the U.S. will add espionage charges to this warrant whuch can carry the death penalty as a punishment. This will be a long drawn out process according to past examples. May justice be the rule and not corruption of power.