LONDON (Reuters) - Julian Assange appeared before a British court for a third day on Wednesday to fight an extradition request from the United States which wants to put the 48-year-old on trial for hacking government computers and violating an espionage law.
Assange is being sought by the United States on 18 counts of hacking U.S. government computers and an espionage offense, having allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning, then a U.S. soldier known as Bradley Manning, to leak hundreds of thousands of secret documents by WikiLeaks almost a decade ago.
Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said his client should not be extradited because the case was political and he was not violent.
Below are the other main developments and quotes from the hearing.
** Judge Vanessa Baraitser said they had become aware that someone has taken a photograph in the courtroom this week. She said that if anyone is found taking or trying to take a photo they will be considered in contempt of court and will be dealt with accordingly.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that it is a criminal offense to attempt to take a photograph ... in any court,” she added.
** Assange’s lawyer Fitzgerald said the case against his client was political and that extradition for political offences was unlawful under the 2003 Anglo-U.S. extradition treaty.
“It is an essential protection, which the U.S. puts in every single one of its extradition treaties,” Fitzgerald told the court. He said it was also illegal under the European Court of Human Rights and UK domestic law.
He added it was a “virtually universal” legal principle that non-violent people should not be extradited for political offences. “If it is not a terrorist case, a violent offense, you should not be extradited for a political offense,” he said
Fitzgerald added that the Wikileaks founder was on some medication, so may need regular breaks.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison