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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Skips Key Hearing Against Extradition To US

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, missed a London court hearing about his US extradition due to sickness.
His attorney argued for his release, claiming the charges for leaking classified US military and diplomatic files are unjust. Assange faced multiple charges in the US between 2018 and 2020 for the 2010 WikiLeaks publications.

His lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, insisted Assange's actions were typical journalistic practices and of public interest. Given Assange's illness, he didn't appear in court or via video link.

Supporters, including his wife Stella, rallied outside the court, urging continued presence until his release. Assange's legal battle in the UK is nearing its end, and if he fails to win his appeal, he'll have to face extradition. If necessary, his team intends to seek intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

US President Biden, under global pressure, is urged to withdraw Assange's 18-count indictment, as critics argue that his prosecution under the Espionage Act, a precedent not previously set for publishing classified data, is unwarranted.

Despite being detained in London since 2019 and having avoided extradition to Sweden for unrelated charges, Assange's extradition was initially blocked by the High Court. However, the US assured he would not face the most severe confinement conditions, prompting the court’s decision reversal.

After the UK's Supreme Court denied further appeals and former interior minister Priti Patel authorized his extradition, Assange's last resort is a review of these decisions. Conviction in the US could mean a life sentence.

WikiLeaks' current editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, dismissed US assurances as unreliable. Meanwhile, Australian PM Anthony Albanese called for an end to Assange's long legal ordeal, supported by a parliamentary motion.

Assange, father of two with his lawyer-wife, continues to receive substantial public support, with plans for further protests announced by Hrafnsson.

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