Julian Assange due to appear in person in court as WikiLeaks founder fights extradition case

Jason Collie
PA

Julian Assange is expected to appear in person in court today as his extradition case continues.

Assange, 48, is due in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing relating to his extradition to the United States over allegations that he conspired to break into a classified Pentagon computer.

Former home secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited to the US over the computer-hacking allegations.

He was jailed for 50 weeks in the UK in May after he jumped bail by going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks founder was due to be released from HMP Belmarsh on September 22, but was told at a court hearing last month that he would be kept in jail because of “substantial grounds” for believing he would abscond.

In May, WikiLeaks said it had “grave concerns” about Assange’s health after he was moved to a medical ward in Belmarsh Prison.

When he did not appear for a scheduled hearing, chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot referred to the Australian as “not very well”.

WikiLeaks said at the time: “During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight. The decision of the prison authorities to move him into the health ward speaks for itself.”

A final hearing in Assange’s extradition case is due to take place in February.

Assange entered the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.

He spent nearly seven years living inside until being dramatically dragged out by police in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.

Additional reporting by PA Media