The WikiLeaks founder appeared via video link in Westminster Magistrates Court for the first hearing in what could be a lengthy process in the US request for extradition.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Julian Assange had his first day in court on Thursday in his fight against extradition to the United States in an historic press freedom case that could have a profound impact on the future of journalism.
Dressed in jeans, a dark jacket and a T-shirt, Assange appeared on a video screen inside a cramped courtroom in Westminster Magistrates Court in London. “I won’t surrender to the U.S. for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected lives,” Assange told the court, according to a tweet from a USAToday correspondent.
Assange was arrested on April 11 after Ecuador lifted his political asylum at its embassy in London where Assange had lived since June 2012. On that day the U.S. unsealed an indictment against the publisher for conspiring with WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning to crack a password needed to hide Manning’s identity. Protecting a source is a routine part of investigative journalism.
Watch a Special Extradition Vigil for Assange…