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WikiLeaks ‘critical’ in revealing CIA torture, court hears

WIKILEAKS was critical in establishing the facts of one of the most horrific instances of CIA kidnap and torture, a hearing in London heard yesterday. 

Testifying in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Old Bailey, Khaled Al-Masri’s statement related how he was arrested under mistaken identity and held in secret for months.

In 2003 Al-Masri, a German national, was detained while on holiday in Macedonia, handed to the CIA and subjected to months of grotesque abuse. 

In a statement read to the court, Mr Al-Masri explained that documents released by Wikileaks were key to establishing aspects of his story and proving them to the European Court of Human Rights. 

They also revealed the US government’s ongoing evasion of responsibility, he said.

The US government is seeking the extradition of Mr Assange to face charges of violating the Espionage Act for which, if convicted he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

The court also heard from Mr Assange’s solicitor, Jennifer Robinson, who told the court of a meeting she attended between Mr Assange and Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy. 

She said that President Trump was aware of their meeting and wanted to end speculation about Russia being the source of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leaks that had damaged Hilary Clinton during the election.

Mr Rohrabacher reportedly said that if Mr Assange named the source of the DNC leak, he could be given a pardon. Mr Assange declined to disclose his source, Ms Robinson said.

Expert witness Nicky Hager, an investigative journalist, told the court of his experience of working with Assange on the release of the diplomatic cables. 

He said Mr Assange was “careful and responsible” about this work.

The hearing continues.

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