WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange appeared in public for the first time in six months Monday, appearing frail and confused throughout a British courtroom look before his extradition hearing.
The 48-year-old Australian is currently combating with a United States bid to extradite him on charges filed under the US Espionage Act, also sat at the witness box as a London court determined the schedule of his entire hearing, due to start in February.
Although clean-shaven and dressed in a blue coat, blue jumper and dark pants, Assange appeared puzzled whenever he had been asked to speak at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
He appeared to have problems recalling his arrival date, and in the close of the hearing told District Judge Vanessa Baraitser he hadn’t known what had occurred in court.
Then he complained about the conditions where he was being detained in the high-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London.
“I can not get any of my writings, it is rather tricky to do anything and those individuals have infinite funds, they have an unfair advantage,” he said in a barely audible voice.
Assange also implied that somebody had attempted to steal his kids’ DNA before adding: “I can not think correctly”.
First public look
It had been his first public appearance since being radically hauled out of Ecuador’s embassy in April.
Baraitser refused his legal group’s petition for more time to collect evidence, telling Assange his following case management hearing could occur on December 19, before a complete extradition hearing in February.
Assange’s attorney Mark Summers also promised the US had invaded his customer’s legal liberty.
“The American country was actively participated in intruding into privileged talks between Mr Assange along with his attorneys in the embassy, also unlawful copying of the phones and computers — hooded guys breaking into offices,” he explained.
He’s been making periodic appearances by video-link at administrative hearings because he attempts to show he is no more a flight risk and could be set free on bond as a result of bad health.
He served his sentence for violating his bail provisions, when he sought asylum from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, but remains in custody while his extradition case is continuing.
Approximately 50 fans gathered outside the courtroom, chanting”free Julian Assange”, headed by a guy with loudspeaker.
The small courtroom was packed with his backers, such as journalist John Pilger and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.