WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange complained on Wednesday that he could not speak to his defense in complete confidentiality, briefly interrupting the third day of the British court’s examination of the American extradition request.
“I cannot speak to my lawyers in true confidentiality”, said the 48-year-old Australian, separated from his lawyers and from the rest of the courtroom at Woolwich (South East London) by a glass panel.
“I can’t speak to my lawyers (…) I can’t ask them questions, I can’t give them directions,” he added after standing up, noting that microphones placed nearby could pick up conversation elements.
US officials have “a hundred times more contact with their team of lawyers,” he said.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who had previously asked the defense to inquire about her condition because Assange seemed tired, quickly ended this outing by ordering a short break.
“Generally, defendants have no say until they testify,” she said.
Julian Assange is being prosecuted in the United States for having disseminated from 2010 more than 700,000 classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces up to 175 years in prison, under the anti-spy laws of 1917 and for hacking.
In order to rule on the extradition request, the examination of which takes place this week and then three weeks from May 18, the British courts must, in particular, ensure that it is not disproportionate or incompatible with human rights. Man.
Julian Assange is detained in Belmarsh high-security prison, adjacent to the court.
After the brief hiatus, Assange’s attorney, Edward Fitzgerald, said he would request that his client be able to sit in the courtroom floor, stressing that he posed “a threat to absolutely no one. “
The judge warned, however, that she would have difficulty acceding to this request, which would probably require the filing of a bail request.
It had already been refused and the representative of the American government, James Lewis, said that he would oppose it.
Assange was arrested in April 2019 after seven years in seclusion at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge after violating the conditions of his bail, fearing extradition to the United States.