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Assange 'too unwell to attend extradition hearing'

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange was too ill to attend the latest court hearing in his extradition case today.

A spokeswoman from Bridges for Media Freedom, a press freedom organisation that has been monitoring the hearings, said that Mr Assange’s barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC had told Westminster magistrates that his client did not appear by videolink because he was unwell.

The court had previously heard that Mr Assange had received medical advice that using the prison facility could raise his risk of coronavirus infection.

His full extradition hearing is set to take place on September 7, having originally been scheduled for May 18, although a crown court has not yet been found to take the case.

A further administrative hearing is due on June 29.

Mr Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion after the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.

He is being held in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison while the court system tries to reschedule his extradition hearing, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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