Assange’s ‘rights’ breached: lawyer


Assange, 48, made a brief court appearance as he and his legal team continue to fight moves to get him to America to face serious espionage charges.

He and his lawyers complained they weren’t being given enough time to meet to plan their battle against US prosecutors seeking to put him on trial for WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents.

“It is a breach of a defendant’s rights,” his lawyer Gareth Peirce complained.

Julian Assange. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Assange was taken to court from Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London.

He saluted the public gallery, which was packed with ardent supporters including the musician MIA, when he entered the courtroom.

He later raised his right fist in defiance when he was taken to holding cells to meet with lawyer Gareth Peirce.

A court artist’s sketch showed Assange wearing spectacles, with longish hair and a beard.

A court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange. Picture: AP

A court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange. Picture: APSource:AP

Mr Peirce said officials at Belmarsh Prison are making it extremely difficult for her to meet with Assange.

“We have pushed Belmarsh in every way – it is a breach of a defendant’s rights,” he said.

Assange refrained from making political statements.

A prison van used to transport Assange from jail to court and back again. Picture: AP

A prison van used to transport Assange from jail to court and back again. Picture: APSource:AP

Singer M.I.A joins demonstrators outside Westminster Magistrates Court in support of Assange. Picture: AP

Singer M.I.A joins demonstrators outside Westminster Magistrates Court in support of Assange. Picture: APSource:AP

He confirmed his name and date of birth, and at one point said he didn’t understand all of the proceedings against him during the brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

He faces 18 charges in the US, including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. He has denied wrongdoing, claiming he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.

Many advocacy groups have supported Assange’s claim that the charges would have a chilling effect on freedom of the press.

Assange supporters outside the court. Picture: AP

Assange supporters outside the court. Picture: APSource:AP

Assange acknowledged his supporters in court. Picture: AFP

Assange acknowledged his supporters in court. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

A five-day extradition hearing is scheduled for late February.

Assange’s legal team has tried to delay the hearing so there is more time to prepare, but these requests have been denied.

Assange has already served a 50-week prison sentence in Britain for jumping bail. A rape investigation launched against him in Sweden has been dropped, so he would likely be freed from prison if extradition is denied.

There was no news in the court about Assange’s cat. Picture: Supplied

There was no news in the court about Assange’s cat. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied



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