WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday testified in the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London against Spanish security company Undercover Global S. L., which he claims spied on him on behalf of the United States during his 7-year stay at the Ecuadorian embassy, UK tabloid newspaper Daily Mail reported.
Undercover Global S. L. is accused of collecting data about Assange, his lawyers, visitors, and associates while it worked for the embassy from 2012-2018.
According to the news outlet, Assange, who is also fighting extradition to the United States, claimed in a testimony via video-link that his quarters in the embassy had been bugged.
More than 30 supporters had gathered at the court's main entrance with banners calling for Assange's release, as Sputnik correspondent reported.
Assange asked Ecuador for asylum in 2012 after the Swedish authorities brought rape charges against him, and had resided in the Ecuadorian embassy in London until 2019. In April, the embassy opened its doors to the UK police, who promptly entered the building and arrested the WikiLeaks founder. He was eventually sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail conditions back in 2012.
In May, the US Department of Justice indicted Assange on 17 charges under the Espionage Age and demanded his extradition. If convicted of these charges, the WikiLeaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison. Then-UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid approved the extradition request, stating that he did not believe Assange would face death or torture if extradited.
The US Espionage Act makes it a crime to spread information that would interfere with US military operations during wartime or help the US’ enemies.