- Title: Assange appears in London court for extradition hearing
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (DECEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS OF WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE OUTSIDE WESTMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CONSUL AT THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY IN BRITAIN, FIDEL NAVRAEZ, SAYING: "He's being persecuted. He's going to be extradited to the United States for the rest of his life, so he needs every support." ASSANGE SUPPORTER IN ORANGE PRISON JUMPSUIT WITH ASSANGE MASK AND HANDCUFFS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CONSUL AT THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY IN BRITAIN, FIDEL NAVRAEZ, SAYING: "Well, the Ecuadorian embassy was the most surveilled place on Earth. It was surveilled from outside, from the British security services, and we know now also from the Americans. And he was surveilled inside the embassy by UC Global security company during the first six years of Julian Assange's stay at the embassy. That company was contracted by Ecuador in order to protect the embassy, protect Julian Assange, protect the embassy staff... but it is a corrupt company - we know that now - that ended up working for Julian Assange's persecution. It betrayed Ecuador, it betrayed Julian Assange, it spied on Julian Assange and spied on the Ecuadorian diplomats inside the embassy." PROTESTER HOLDING PLACARD READING (English): "FREE ASSANGE, NO U.S. EXTRADITION" ON ONE SIDE AND "PROTECT JOURNALISTS, PUBLISHERS, WHISTLEBLOWERS" ON THE OTHER (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CONSUL AT THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY IN BRITAIN, FIDEL NAVRAEZ, SAYING: "Well, I very much hope that the Spanish investigation will determine for certain - does (whether) UC Global was working for the Americans or the CIA? It will mean that the persecution of Julian Assange by the United States was using illegal methods in order to persecute Julian Assange, which will make his extradition basically illegal to the United States. So I very much hope that the investigation will prove that." CREST ABOVE DOOR TO WESTMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT ASSANGE SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE COURT (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CONSUL AT THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY IN BRITAIN, FIDEL NAVRAEZ, SAYING: "With a new government, Ecuador has stopped protecting Julian and in fact the last year of Julian Assange in the embassy, he was not being protected by Ecuador. He was being persecuted also by Ecuador. He was being harassed. He was put in an isolation. He was cut (off from) every communication - Internet, telephone, visitors except from his lawyers. So in the last year, he was being spied on by the security company working for the Americans and also by the government of Ecuador that started collaborating with the Americans in order to hand Julian Assange over."
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 16:51
- Keywords: Julian Assange Westminster magistrate court Wikileaks extradition case hearing protesters supporters
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAS68G7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A Spanish court was due to question jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, appearing via videolink from Britain on Friday (December 20), as part of an investigation into his allegations that a Spanish firm spied on him while he lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The case, led by Spanish judge Jose de la Mata, focuses on claims that first cameras and then microphones were installed inside the Ecuadorian embassy between June 2017 and early 2018 by Spanish private security firm Undercover Global S.L.
The recordings, alleged to capture conversations between Assange and his lawyers, may have been distributed to parties including "authorities from Ecuador and agents from the United States," according to court documents which later specify "probably on orders from U.S. intelligence."
A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment.
Assange's legal team is seeking to have the firm and its founder charged with crimes including violation of privacy and attorney-client privilege, money laundering, and bribery.
Assange spent nearly seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy's cramped rooms in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape that were dropped in November.
He was dragged from the embassy in April and jailed for 50 weeks for skipping bail in Britain before the U.S. launched its extradition request. A full extradition hearing for Assange, 48, is due to happen in February.
Assange faces 18 counts in the U.S. including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. If convicted, he could spend decades in prison.
(Production: Ben Makori, Ben Dangerfield)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None