WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Back In Court For Extradition Hearing
Assange's lawyers insist that extradition to Sweden would be exploited by United States to bring him there to face espionage charges related to the leak of classified State Department cables.
The New York Times reports that Assange plans to fight extradition to the highest level if the result of the hearing goes against him:
Close friends of Mr. Assange, who did not want to be identified, have said in recent weeks that the fear of extreme measures by the United States is a strong motivator in his decision to fight the accusations so vigorously — he has said he will appeal to Britain’s highest courts, and even to the pan-European tribunals, if the decision in the extradition hearing goes against him.
Assange spoke to a crowd of supporters gathered outside the courtroom upon the conclusion of the days proceedings, and said:
For the past five-and-a-half months we have been in a condition where a black box has been applied to my life. On the outside of that black box has been written the word 'rape'. That box is now, thanks to an open court process, been opened.
I hope over the next day we will see that that box is in fact empty and has nothing to do with the words that are on the outside of it. We have seen that today and I would like to thank my supporters and my lawyers for continuing to help me. A process like this surely lets you understand who your friends are.
The second and final day of the hearing is to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning in London.