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Assange’s US Extradition Hearing Continues at London’s Old Bailey

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing continued at the Old Bailey criminal court in London on Thursday, with his defence team reiterating Assange’s mental health as an argument against his extradition to a United States’ super-maximum security prison.

Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, former British diplomat Craig Murray, Reporters Without Border’s Rebecca Vincent, Assange’s father John Shipton, and Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris, were all seen arriving at the court.

Speaking to journalists after the hearing, Hrafnsson said that the prosecution was playing “an extraordinary game” with Assange by going at lengths to liken the super-maximum security prison to “a health resort where Julian could play bingo and play cricket and what have you.”

Murray was equally critical of the “complete nonsense from the prosecution,” saying that they tried to portray the US maximum security jails as “a holiday camp where you can do basket-weaving, and you could do crochet, and really it’s quite a nice jolly place to be.”

“And against that we’ve had evidence from former wardens and from lawyers and from others who have been involved in that system to say it’s absolute hell. Or at least the first year of confinement you are kept absolutely in solitary, never seeing another human being, except when the door flaps opens to give you your food,” he said.

Journalist Rebecca Vincent accused the medical professionals who are in charge of evaluating Assange’s health of gambling with his life, saying that the extradition was “a question of life or death.”

“So, we remain very concerned because all testimonies have pointed to Mr. Assange’s vulnerability. This is somebody who should not be held in custody, and certainly not extradited, not just because of his medical conditions, but again, this case against him should be dropped. He should not be detained at all. So we call again for his release and for the charges against him to be dropped, and him certainly not to be extradited to the United States,” she added.

Assange has been behind bars in Belmarsh Prison since he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in April 2019. He faces multiple charges in the US related to espionage.

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