Julian Assange’s next hearing will not be until February of 2020 and it will last 5 days. Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century was in the court room today and tweeted details. You can see the tweets here:
I was in Court Room No.3 for #JulianAssange US extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. The following are some of my observations from today’s proceedings…
The court room was very small, only space for a handful of friends, family and maybe 10 members of the press I could see. #JulianAssange appeared via video link from Belmarsh Prison and his physical appearance looked markedly better in terms of his weight, I am merely going by the video shot from torso up, but face seemed to be slightly fuller than the extremely thin face in leaked video (allegedly shot in April or May). He had full beard, hair slightly longer, combed back, wearing reading glasses and grey T-shirt. Mentally, #JulianAssange seemed compos mentis, attentive, although struggling somewhat to respond, clearly the effects of stress were visible in his interaction with the court a stress which seemed to be compounded by the limited constraints of proceedings and his remote isolation from physical proceedings. Certainly it’s a major disadvantage in some ways for the defendant to be isolated from his legal team and denied face to face encounters.
Julian Assange & Court were read summary of US indictments/accusations by UK State Rep who did not comment on legitimacy of charges, only that they were technically in compliance with US-UK extradition agreement. Julian responded to this by saying he has not been allowed to read US indictments yet & that interaction w/his lawyers/material is limited (in many instances they’re having to post documents to him). Also adamant about addressing false media reports namely BBC, accusing him, #WikiLeaks of “hacking”. He seemed to want his objection on record & refute any idea that would lead people to “believe that #WikiLeaks is anything but a publisher.” Key dates going forward are July 31st, and Oct 21st which is case management hearing to set out timeline for formal hearings to stretching into early 2020 and a 5 day extradition hearing from February 24, 2020. There is also possibility he might be released before Oct if his appeal against 50 week bail skipping is successful. If not, he may serve additional time of custodial sentence into October.
It seems possible that he may be out of Belmarsh in fall. Certainly this means better access to legal team to prepare defense. Likewise, Assange lawyer requested addition time to prepare what they insist is a “complex case” dealing with such “profound” issues including an “outrageous frontal assault on journalists rights”.
Keep in mind that Assange will certainly be kept in some sort of custody throughout the extradition hearings which could take years.