Julian Assange misses court session due to health problems

Updated May 30, 2019 21:50:34

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has missed a brief extradition hearing, apparently due to health problems.

Key points:

  • Assange is currently in prison for skipping bail in Britain while fighting extradition to the US
  • The judge says a more substantive extradition hearing is set for June 12
  • WikiLeaks releases a statement saying it has grave concerns about Assange’s health

Scheduled to appear at the session from prison via video link on Thursday, Assange’s lawyer Gareth Peirce said the Australian was “in fact far from well”.

The United States requested the extradition of Assange, who was dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London on April 11.

Assange is in Belmarsh prison serving time for skipping bail in Britain while fighting extradition to the US.

Sweden also wants to question him about an alleged rape.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot said a more substantive extradition hearing set for June 12 may be moved to a court next to Belmarsh prison for convenience.

WikiLeaks said it had grave concerns about Assange’s health and that he had been moved to a health ward at the high-security prison.

“During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” it added in a statement.

“The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.”

The next hearing on the extradition request was set for June 12.

He faces a total of 18 US criminal counts with decades in prison if convicted.

Assange, who spent almost seven years holed up in cramped rooms at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, has repeatedly said he fears extradition to the United States.

Earlier this month, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British court for skipping bail after fleeing to the Ecuadorean embassy.

The United States charged Assange with espionage, saying he unlawfully published the names of classified sources and conspired with and assisted ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in obtaining access to classified information.

ABC/Reuters

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, united-kingdom

<

p class=”published”> First posted May 30, 2019 21:20:23