British court refuses to delay hearing on Assange’s extradition

Lawyers said they needed more time to prepare a response to the new indictment of the US Department of Justice.

A British court on Monday rejected a request by lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to postpone his extradition hearing until next year to give his lawyers more time to prepare a response to US allegations that he colluded with hackers to obtain classified information.

The request for a delay came on the first day of a hearing in a London court, where the issue of Assange’s extradition to the United States is being considered.

The US attorney’s office has charged the 49-year-old Australian with 18 counts of espionage and computer misuse in connection with the publication of secret military documents a decade ago. The maximum term of imprisonment is 175 years.

Assange’s lawyers insist the case is politically motivated.

In June, the US Department of Justice filed a new indictment, and Assange’s lawyer, Mark Summers, said that lawyers did not have enough time to deal with the new text by the time the court hearings began on Monday.

The case has already been postponed for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic.