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Assange Barred from Seeing US Evidence Against Him

Still locked up in a London jail, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – appearing by video at a hearing where the United States is trying to extradite him on charges of leaking sensitive military information – hasn’t yet been able to see the evidence against him.
British media reported that the 48-year-old Australian, who doctors said is in poor health, heard his lawyers complain they’ve been unable to fully review the US case against him as he could face charges under the Espionage Act and conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning for leaking classified documents.
He said he acted as a journalist and has received widespread support around the world, although less in his home country where Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cracked down on reporters for also revealing information about military operations and government plans to spy on citizens.
Gareth Peirce, representing Assange, said: “Mr. Assange has not been given what he must be given, and we are keen to go through this to the best of our abilities to keep with the requests of the court. It is predicated on the underlying evidence that Mr. Assange has not reviewed.”
Last month Swedish authorities dropped sexual assault allegations made in 2010 against him which forced him to seek refuge in Ecuador’s embassy before that country lifted asylum for him earlier this year, allowing British police to enter and forcibly remove him, and he’s been detained since.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser adjourned the case until Dec. 19. Assange appeared uncomfortable as he sat waiting for the hearing to start, clenching his hands together before putting them inside the sleeves of his grey sweater, The Guardian said.
He spoke to confirm his name and date of birth and to clarify he was Australian, after the court’s legal adviser mistakenly suggested he was a Swedish national. The court heard that his lawyers had made a request to the judge, complaining about a lack of access to their client behind bars.
Peirce said the Governor of Belmarsh was giving priority to his family over his lawyers for visits but the judge said she had no authority to intervene, although showing sympathy for the plight he’s in.
“Can I make it clear that I have no desire to stand in the way of any lawyer having proper access to their client and it’s in the interest of justice that they do,” the judge said. “What I can do and say is to state in open court that it would be helpful to this extradition process that Mr. Assange’s lawyers have the access to their client.”

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