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British judge denies delay at Assange extradition hearing

By Clyde Hughes
British judge denies delay at Assange extradition hearing
Assange was ordered held until the next extradition hearing in February. File Photo by Bianca de Marchi/EPA-EFE

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A British judge on Monday denied WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange a delay for his extradition hearing, allowing the effort by U.S. prosecutors to proceed.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser made the ruling despite Assange's argument that he fears he will be "kidnapped" to face charges in the United States. Attorney Mark Summers said the U.S. government has "intruded" in conversations between he and his client.

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In Westminster Magistrates' Court Monday, a clean-shaven Assange raised a fist toward supporters at the hearing. He has been held at London's Belmarsh Prison since his arrest last spring.

When asked if he understood at Monday's hearing, Assange complained he didn't have sufficient resources to defend himself.

"I don't understand how this is equitable," he told the judge. "This superpower [United States] had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can't access my writings. It's very difficult where I am to do anything, but these people have unlimited resources.

"They are saying journalists and whistle-blowers are enemies of the people. They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. They [know] the interior of my life with my psychologist. They steal my children's DNA. This is not equitable what is happening here."

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Supporters demonstrated outside the court and called for Assange to be freed.

Baraister ordered last month that Assange be held for Monday's extradition hearing. He faces computer hacking charges in the United States.

Assange's next extradition court date is set for February.

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