WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not face extradition hearing until next year
The US issued its formal request for the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder this week
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not face a full extradition hearing until next year over computer hacking allegations.
It comes as the UK's home secretary Sajid Javid signed off on the US's formal extradition request over accusations he published leaked defence secrets this week.
On Friday a court in London ruled a five-day extradition hearing will be listed on a date after February 24, 2020.
Mr Assange, 47, appeared in a London courtroom via videolink from Belmarsh top security prison, where he was visited in the health wing by his father and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei earlier this week.
Lawyer Ben Brandon, representing the US, told the court: "This is related to one of the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States."
Mr Assange faces an 18-count indictment that accuses him of soliciting and publishing classified information and of conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning of cracking a Defence department computer password.
Mr Assange has said he will fight the request ahead of a hearing which is set to take place later this year and could take several years to conclude.
His father John Shipton had raised concerns he son was presently unable to adequately prepare his case.
This week he said: “The big problem there is that Julian has no access to the means to prepare his case. And his case, I think, has another two months before its full hearing.
“He needs more access to the means to prepare his defence against this terrible extradition order.”
Mr Assange was first charged in the US last month with receiving and publishing thousands of classified documents linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently serving a 50-week prison term for skipping bail and holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 while under investigation in Sweden over an alleged sex crime.
He was hauled out of the embassy by a British police team in April who were allowed inside after relations cooled between Mr Assange and his Ecuadorian hosts.
Chelsea Manning spent seven years in a military prison for her role in the leak before having her sentence commuted by then-president Barack Obama.
Updated: June 14, 2019 02:45 PM