Assange’s health condition keeps him away from attending his extradition trial

Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, said that the 52-year-old Australian was ill and could not attend the hearing, which was authorized by the court.

The High Court of Justice in London started the trial on Tuesday to determine if Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the United States, where he faces 18 charges of espionage and computer hacking for the leaks of his website, WikiLeaks. The website revealed US human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.

Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, said that the 52-year-old Australian was ill and could not attend the hearing, which was authorized by the court.

The trial, which will end on Wednesday, is presided by judges Victoria Sharp and Adam Johnson, who heard the arguments of Assange’s defense. The defense claimed that the extradition would violate Assange’s rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression, among others, and that the prosecution was politically motivated.

The hearing was briefly interrupted due to technical issues that affected the audio for the journalists.

The British Prosecutor’s Office, acting on behalf of the US Justice, defended the extradition order, which was granted by a single judge, Jonathan Swift, on June 6, 2023. Swift rejected Assange’s request to appeal his case in the UK.

The judges could announce their decision right away or later. If they allow Assange to appeal, a new trial would take place at the London Court of Appeal. If they deny it, the extradition process to the US, overseen by the British Home Office, would begin.

Assange’s lawyers said that they would seek urgent interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), under article 39 of its rules, to halt the extradition, while they appeal to the European court.

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