Heated arguments from the advocate representing the United States government, strong defense from the defendant, loud hails from the supporters of Julian Assange outside the court. That’s how dramatic the hearing of Julian Assange’s case has begun at the London court.
While the United States government wants to extradite Assange to prosecute espionage charges which could carry 175 years of imprisonment, he wants to defend as a journalist protected by the First Amendment protection. His lawyer told the court that he was being victimized as a result of the “declaration of war on leakers and journalists” by the administration of President Donald Trump.
On the other hand, Lawyer James Lewis, representing the U.S. government, called WikiLeaks’ 2010 document deluge “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States. Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a license to break ordinary criminal laws.”
“By disseminating the materials in an unredacted form, he likely put people — human rights activists, journalists, advocates, religious leaders, dissidents, and their families — at risk of serious harm, torture or even death,” the lawyer said. Lewis said some informants and others who had been assisting the Americans had to be relocated after the leak, and others “subsequently disappeared.”
“Julian Assange has been made an example of,” Fitzgerald said. “He was the obvious symbol of all that Trump condemned.
The US Lawyer replied “This is an extradition hearing, not a trial. The guilt or innocence of Mr Assange will be determined at trial in the United States, not in this court.”
While the heated arguments went on for hours, the supporters of Julian Assange raised strong slogans supporting the computer expert turned whistleblower.