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Assange Support Truck Driving Past Westminster Magistrates' Court - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: Protestors Rally in London as Court Holds Hearing on Assange's Extradition

The hearing is being held just one day after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States.

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are gathering near the City of London Magistrates' Court, which is holding hearings on the possible extradition of the whistleblower to the United States. Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years in the US for links to the unauthorised disclosure of classified defence information.

Assange, who had claimed asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK in 2012 due to possible extradition, was arrested on 11 April, and is now serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail. He was recently transferred to Belmarsh Prison's hospital wing after losing "dangerous amounts of weight behind bars".

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12:55 GMT 14.06.2019

Speaker: I am here today at Westminster Magistrates' Court to offer solidarity with Julian Assange. He is the proud holder of the Aboriginal Nations Passport like I am. It is a passport that comes with not just rights, it comes actually with obligations. Its obligation is to speak out against the injustices which first peoples have experienced at the hand of colonialism. And Julian stands up for those.

And on his behalf, his father, John Shipton, picked up a similar passport some years ago and brought it to the Ecuadorian Embassy for Julian. He has this passport, but along with the obligations there are also rights, and the rights of that are associated with his ongoing connection with the first peoples of Australia and the rights which he has to be reconnected with them.

We ask – we demand that the British government and the British courts respect Julian’s Aboriginal Nations Passport and enable him to travel safely back to the many nations of Australia – which were invaded, which were colonised, which were brutalised, in which children have been stolen from – so that Julian can return safely home and be hand-in-hand with his brothers and sisters in the many nations which are now called Australia.

11:45 GMT 14.06.2019
BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger at protests in London against WikiLeaks' founder's Julian Assange's extradition  - Sputnik International

"I saw him in prison and he’s lost a great deal of weight. Then he couldn't keep his food down. I understand this has stabilised since then; he is still in the hospital wing of Belmarsh Prison. This is a man who saw no life for almost seven years and then was dragged out of the embassy, violently dragged out and pitched into a maximum security prison and his crime was an infringement of bail if, we call that a crime", he said

11:43 GMT 14.06.2019

Cheryl is a member of the Julian Assange Defence Committee.

Sputnik: Can you tell me which organisation you are with?

Cheryl: I am with the Julian Assange Defence Committee. We were the original people who stood outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. Some of us stood there from day one for six years. I joined them in January [2019]. After he was pulled out of the embassy on 11 April, we transformed into the Julian Assange Defence Committee and we are still campaigning for his freedom.

Sputnik: Given the recent updates that UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid wants to extradite him to the US, what is the Defence Committee doing now to step up the pressure on the UK government?

Cheryl: Well, we have been meeting more regularly. We have been doing group work; we have been doing local work. We have been opening up a broader website on Facebook; we have a bigger presence on Facebook. We have some people doing more posters.

So we are stepping up because we realise that there is no fourth estate in this country anymore; we realise that we have got to do it all. We just need to tell more people, because a lot of people don’t know. I mean just look at the crowd here: there are 58 million people in this country and these are the only people that are here, which tells you [about] the level of ignorance or the good job that the fake media has done on people.

And so we even have a special group that answers all the lies, responds to all the lies in a very professional way in an effort to clear the name of this international hero and most important person of the 21st century. This is our task, because rights are being taken away, and we are going to see the end of investigative journalism if we don’t work faster.

Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
10:50 GMT 14.06.2019

Sputnik has discussed today’s trial with John Brack, a London-based independent EF Press blogger, UK.

Sputnik: Given recent developments, especially with Sajid Javid signing off on Julian Assange’s extradition, can you tell me what you hope to accomplish and what you hope to achieve today?

John Brack: I think today it is only going to be a procedural hearing. They are going to look at the extradition request. So I don’t think there is going to be any arguments, it will just be filing papers. What we hope to achieve is to increase the public pressure to free Julian Assange. And only by public pressure will anything happen in his favour. If it is left to the judiciary, the government and the police they will have him on a plane to America as soon as they can.

Sputnik: Have you heard any updates about Julian Assange’s condition or basically how is he doing in Belmarsh Prison at the moment?

John Brack: I saw the RT footage of the Chinese artist Ai [Weiwei] who visited Julian Assange a couple of days ago. And according to them, he’s in the hospital wing, he is not well. They couldn’t give any specifics on exactly his condition but he is certainly not fit enough to attend his trial today. If he is attending at all, it will be by a video link. So it is not great. He is not in a good state.

He's a man who has been confined in one way or another for over 7 years. So we are just hoping that the British public and the people who support Julian can put enough pressure on the court system and the government who are in a very vulnerable state at the moment with no leader to treat Julian’s human rights and the freedom of the press in a just manner.

10:28 GMT 14.06.2019
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 Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
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 Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
 Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
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Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
 Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
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Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
Julian Assange supporters. London. 14.06.2019 - Sputnik International
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