Radio Cadena Agramonte
Friday, May 29, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Assange trial to continue, despite pandemic

London, Apr 8.- British Justice rejected a request to postpone the resumption of the extradition trial of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, scheduled for next May 18, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As reported by the journalist Marty Silk, from the Australian agency AAP, through his Twitter account, only five reporters and the same number of people were present in the audience room, since Assange's lawyers and US prosecutors participated via video conference.

The founder of Wikileaks, whom the United States wants to judge for having disclosed thousands of secret files of diplomacy and the American military on that digital portal, did not participate in the oral hearing, not even via Internet from Belmarsh prison, where he has been confined since last April.

However, Assange's defense believes that, due to the quarantine and the social distancing measures imposed by the Government to try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be best to postpone the process until next September.

That argument failed to convince Judge Baraitser, who on March 25 also refused to release the Australian journalist on bail, despite well-founded fears that he would catch the Covid-19 in prison.

According to figures quoted this Tuesday by the British press, at least 107 inmates have tested positive for the new coronavirus in 38 prisons in the United Kingdom, and of them, at least nine died.

Last weekend, the Justice Ministry announced that it will release some 4,000 prisoners to make more space in the cells, but according to what the AAP reported then, Assange will not be among the beneficiaries because he is not serving a criminal sentence.

Although since last September he was eligible for parole, the magistrate decided that the Australian journalist must wait in prison for the outcome of the extradition trial to the United States.

If turned over to the American Justice, Assange could be sentenced to 175 years in prison, based on the 18 charges against him, which range from conspiracy to commit espionage to hacking. (Text and photo: PL)