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AFP
September 26, 2020

Assange decision ruled out before US vote

World

AFP
September 26, 2020

LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have to wait until after the US election to find out whether he will be extradited to face espionage charges there, the British judge presiding over his hearing said on Friday.

Assange faces 18 charges in the US relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Evidence in the extradition hearing at London’s Old Bailey court is due to close next week, but judge Vanessa Baraitser agreed to Assange’s lawyer’s request for time to prepare his closing arguments. “Evidently it seems unlikely we will be able to get judgment before November 4,” lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, representing the Australian, told the court. “You have to bear in mind there is an election and the future is uncertain.”

Fitzgerald claims the move to extradite his client is politically motivated under President Donald Trump, telling the court that some aspects of his defence, linked to the president, “would be worse if Mr Trump was there”. Baraitser concluded that “one way or another my decision is likely to go after the election in the US” and gave the defence four weeks to prepare their arguments, and the US government a further two weeks.