October 22, 2021

Judge Warns Julian Assange to Shut Up After Shouts of ‘Nonsense’ at Extradition Hearing

told Assange. “This is obviously not something I wish to do. I am, therefore, giving you a clear warning.”

The judge added, “I understand you’ll hear things you disagree with… and you’d like to contradict and speak about these things yourself, but this is not your opportunity to do so.”

The warning came after the founder of the legal charity Reprieve, Clive Stafford-Smith, told the court that “grave violations of law,” including the use of U.S. drones for targeted strikes in Pakistan as well as alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, had been exposed in the documents published by WikiLeaks.

James Lewis QC, who is representing the U.S. authorities, hit back that the case was not about the usefulness of the documents and that the U.S. charges revolve around the publication of the names of informants in Iraq and Afghanistan that had put their lives in danger. It was Lewis’ rebuttal that provoked Assange’s outburst.

It was just the second day of a four-week hearing at the Old Bailey, where the WikiLeaks founder is fighting extradition to the U.S. to face an 18-count indictment on espionage charges. Assange embarrassed the U.S. government a decade ago by publishing thousands upon thousands of confidential American documents.

However, Assange’s supporters see him as a journalist and a champion of free speech—an argument which has been adopted by his lawyers in the early days of the hearing.

The U.S. charges against Assange carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

This post originally appeared on and written by:
Jamie Ross
The Daily Beast 2020-09-08 13:52:00