Politics 15:47 24/02/2020 World

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces US extradition hearing in London

Supporters of Julian Assange have gathered outside the London court where the US extradition case against him is set to begin, Euronews reports. 

The Wikileaks founder is wanted by the US for espionage charges. He was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, but when this was withdrawn last year he was arrested by UK police.

Should he be extradited, the 48-year-old faces 18 charges over the publication of classified documents. Prosecutors say he conspired with US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange says he was acting as a journalist, and is entitled to First Amendment protection. He claims the leaked documents exposed military wrongdoing, and among the files was a video from 2007 of a US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad which killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

Campaign groups such as Pen International, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders are warning the charges against Assange set a chilling precedent for freedom of the press.



Source Panorama.am
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