Assange court case to resume after COVID-19 false alarm

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A demonstrator holds placards near the Central Criminal Court Old Bailey in London, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the U.S. government were squaring off in a London court on Monday at a high-stakes extradition case delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. American prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and computer misuse charges over Wikileaks’ publication of secret U.S. military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — The London court hearing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition from Britain to the United States is set to resume after a COVID-19 test on one of the participating lawyers came back negative, WikiLeaks said Friday,

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ordered the proceedings adjourned Thursday while a lawyer representing the U.S. government was tested for the coronavirus.

WikiLeaks said the case is now set to continue on Monday.

Assange is fighting American prosecutors’ attempt to get the British government to send him to the U.S. to stand trial on spying charges.

The extradition hearing at London’s Old Bailey criminal court is scheduled to last until early October.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and computer misuse charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret U.S. military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

Assange’s lawyers say the prosecution is a politically motivated abuse of power that will stifle press freedom and put journalists around the world at risk.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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