27 February 2020 — Consortium News
4:45 pm London time: Julian Assange’s attorney Edward Fitzgerald QC is arguing in Woolwich Crown Court that the U.S. charges against Assange are political, as espionage is a political crime, and thus in violation of Article 4.1 of the U.S.-British extradition treaty. However the prosecution is putting forth the argument that the UK Extradition Act, the implementing domestic legislation for the treaty, does not preclude political offenses. Further, the U.S. is arguing in court that the charges are not political in nature.
For the first time, Assange spoke directly to the court, saying he wanted to leave the bullet-proof glass cage and sit with his lawyers. “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as a spectator at Wimbledon,” Assange told the judge, who replied that his attorneys could apply for bail so that he may leave the cage. Fitzgerald told the court: “This is a gentle man of intellectual nature, there is no reason why he should not sit with us.”
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