The Scotsman

As­sange fails to quash new al­le­ga­tions amid ex­tra­di­tion fight with the US

- By EMILY PENNINK news­deskts@scots­man.com Crime · White-collar Crime · Julian Assange · United States of America · Wikileaks · Julian · Old Bailey · Donald Trump · Vivienne Westwood · Arrest of Bradley Manning · John Shipton

Wik­iLeaks founder Julian As san ge has failed in a bid to rule out new al­le­ga­tions against him as he fights ex­tra­di­tion to the United States.

The 49 -year- old, who has been in high-se­cu­rity Bel­marsh Prison for 16 months, is wanted over the pub­li­ca­tion of hun­dreds of thou­sands of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments in 2010 and 2011.

Yes­ter­day he was ar­rested in the cells at the Old Bai­ley over a new US in­dict­ment, con­tain­ing 18 charges, lodged in June.

They add de­tail of al­leged hack­ing plot­ters, which As­sange and oth­ers at Wik­iLeaks were said to have re­cruited. De­fence lawyer Mark Sum­mers QC said the “fresh al­le­ga­tions at the 11th hour” were brought with­out warn­ing or ex­pla­na­tion, giv­ing no time to prop­erly pre - par ea re­sponse be­fore the ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing.

He high­lighted the dif­fi­cul­ties As­sange faced in speak­ing to his lawyers in the midst of on­go­ing restric­tions.

“It would be an im­pos­si­ble task for the de­fence to deal with th­ese fresh al­le­ga­tions in any mean­ing­ful way in the time that has been af­forded to them and that time is a mat­ter of weeks in re­spect of which we are pro­vided ab­so­lutely no ex­pla­na­tion for the late ar­rival of th­ese mat­ters,” he said.

Mr Sum­mers added: “What is hap­pen­ing is ab­nor­mal, un­fair and li­able to cre­ate in­jus­tice if al­lowed to con­tinue.” District Judge Vanessa Baraitser re­jected the de­fence bid to “ex­cise” the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing :“Th­ese are is­sues which must take place in the con­text of con­sid­er­ing the ex­tra­di­tion re­quest and not be­fore it.”

Ear­lier, As­sange stood in the dock of court ten, clean shaven with spec­ta­cles perched in his short cropped hair, wear­ing a smart dark suit, ma­roon tie and white shirt.

He said he did not con­sent to ex­tra­di­tion after con­firm­ing his name and date of birth at the start of the hear­ing.

The charges against him in­clude plot­ting to hack com­put­ers and con­spir­ing to ob­tain and dis­close na­tional de­fence in­for­ma­tion.

The al­le­ga­tions in­clude that As­sange con­spired with army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst Chelsea Man­ning to crack a scram­bled pass­word, known as a “hash”, to a clas­si­fied US Depart­ment of de­fence com­puter.

If con­victed, he faces a max­i­mum pos­si­ble penalty of 175 years in jail.

Ass an ge’ s legal team has ac­cused the Trump regime of tar­get­ing him for “politi-cal” rea­sons after Wik­ileaks ex­posed al­leged war crimes and hu­man rights abuses.

Dozens of sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing his fa­ther John Ship­ton and fash­ion de­signer Dame Vivi­enne West­wood, protested out­side court be­fore the hear­ing be­gan.

 ?? PIC­TURE: STE­FAN ROUSSEAU/PA ?? 0 John Ship­ton, the fa­ther of Wik­ileaks founder Julian As­sange, stands out­side the Old Bai­ley ahead of yes­ter­day’s court hear­ing
PIC­TURE: STE­FAN ROUSSEAU/PA 0 John Ship­ton, the fa­ther of Wik­ileaks founder Julian As­sange, stands out­side the Old Bai­ley ahead of yes­ter­day’s court hear­ing

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