Several supporters of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange gathered outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Thursday to demand his release as District Judge Vanessa Baraitser agreed to split his hearing into two parts.
Footage filmed outside the court shows protesters holding signs and banners, as they chanted for Assange to be freed. The Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson could also be spotted leaving the building before talking to the press.
A supporter of the Defend Assange Campaign commented on the relevance of the submission of evidence from the United States this past week, where he explained that the main concern now was the US prosecutor’s claim that 1st amendment will not apply to foreign journalist and that in case he gets extradited, Assange would be put into ‘Special Administrative Measures’ not allowing him and his legal team to speak to the public.
“They claim they have extraterritorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists, which include many of you here have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States, so that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange is about press freedom,” stated Hrafnsson.
Judge Baraitser agreed to open the case on February 24th, adjourn the hearings after one week, and then resume the case on May 18th.
The WikiLeaks co-founder has remained behind bars in Belmarsh Prison since May 2019, after he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations.
Despite this sentence coming to an end on September 22, a British judge ordered Assange remain in prison while facing extradition to the US, due to his previous history of absconding.