June 14 (UPI) -- A full extradition hearing for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange will not be heard until February, a London judge ruled Friday, as U.S. officials continued their fight to bring him to America.
Westminster Magistrate Court chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said Friday that the hearing will begin Feb. 25 after the U.S. made its case for Assange's extradition to proceed.
Assange, participating in the hearing through a video link from Belmarsh prison, where he is being held, protested the case made for the United States by attorney Ben Brandon.
"One hundred seventy-five years of my life is effectively at stake," Assange said in court.
Assange protested again when Brandon claimed that Assange had cracked a U.S. defense network password.
"I didn't break any password whatsoever," Assange said. He later added: "WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher."
Assange's attorneys are fighting his 50-week sentence for jumping bail in London when he took up residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid another extradition to Sweden for assault charges.
On Thursday, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an extradition order that opened the door for the hearing. Assange faces 18 charges in the United States, including soliciting and publishing classified information. He's wanted in connection to leaked documents by whistle-blower and former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
A United Nations human rights expert issued a report last month arguing that Britain should not grant the United States extradition due to signs Assange has been "psychologically tortured."
U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer claimed that the United States, Britain and Sweden had "ganged up" on Assange and subjected him to the psychological distress.