The third day of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing saw lawyers honing in on the particulars of a US-UK extradition treaty, and unexpected drama as the whistleblower spoke to complain about lack of access to his defense team.
Proceedings began with a note of housekeeping from Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who said a photograph had been taken in court earlier in the week. She reminded attendees that this is a criminal offense, and said she would consider the culprit “in contempt” of court.
For the third day running, Assange sat in the glass-fronted dock, wearing a suit jacket, inspecting his notes and able to communicate with his lawyers only through holes in the glass. At the outset, his lawyers cautioned that he was on medication and may need occasional breaks.
The crux of the defense’s argument was that, since Assange is charged under the US Espionage Act, he is wanted for “political offenses,” and extraditing under these circumstances would be unlawful under the 2003 US-UK extradition treaty.
Edward Fitzgerald QC argued that the exception for political