14 September 2020 — Assange Defence
A lot has happened during Julian’s court hearings, so we wanted to catch you up on the week’s events! We’re also providing a brief look ahead as to what we expect as Julian’s fight against extradition continues.
The Hearing Resumes
Julian’s hearing resumed on Monday, September 7. The morning session was focused on legal motions. At the start, judge Vanessa Baraitser revoked remote video access to 40 individuals and groups, including elected officials and NGOs such as Amnesty International (read more about this here). Baraitser also denied a pair of defense motions related to the U.S. government’s last-minute “superseding indictment.” In the afternoon, Dr. Mark Feldstein, a journalism historian, took the virtual stand and addressed key points related to the scope of journalism and the First Amendment’s protections. (You can read our full Day 1 recap here.)
On Tuesday, the court heard from Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve, who emphasized the value of WikiLeaks’ disclosures on drone strikes and torture. Feldstein also continued his testimony, which was interrupted Monday due to technical issues, calling leaks the “lifeblood” of investigative journalism. (You can read our full Day 2 recap here.)
Wednesday’s session saw compelling testimony from two experts. Dr. Paul Rogers, an Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies, testified about Julian’s commitment to transparency and accountability — and why, because of this, the Trump administration views him as a threat. In the afternoon, Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, explained how the Trump administration was engaging in a war on journalism that would radically rewrite the First Amendment. (You can read our full Day 3 recap here.)
Hearing Delayed Until Monday Due to COVID Concerns
On Thursday, testimony was delayed due to concerns that a prosecuting attorney may have been exposed to COVID. A few minor details were handled remotely before the judge adjourned. We were informed this morning that the attorney tested negative for COVID, so the court plans to resume the hearing on Monday morning. We’ll be covering the proceedings, so stay tuned!
There is more going on outside the courtroom. Assange Defense co-chairs Noam Chomsky and Alice Walker published a powerful critique of the media’s unfocused coverage of the case. Other advocates are standing up for Julian and for transparency in the U.K. legal process. Every day, we are hearing great things from advocates — prominent public figures to everyday citizens — coming forward to speak for Julian and journalistic freedom.
This weekend, we’ll be putting out a call for volunteers as we ramp up our campaign to raise awareness and demand justice. We’re excited to work with concerned citizens to help make their voices heard. Be on the lookout for our message this weekend with more information!
Team Assange Defense