- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A lawyer for Julian Assange complained in court Tuesday over treatment the jailed WikiLeaks founder allegedly endured following the first day of his extradition trial this week.

Edward Fitzgerald, a British attorney defending Mr. Assange against a U.S. extradition request, cried foul over conduct he said occurred after Monday’s hearing in London concluded.

Court reporters said Mr. Fitzgerald expressed concerns about how his client was treated the previous evening while being incarcerated a stone’s throw from court at Belmarsh Prison.

“Yesterday, Mr. Assange was handcuffed 11 times and stripped naked twice at Belmarsh and put into five separate holding cells,” Mr. Fitzgerald said, the Daily Mail reported.

Mr. Fitzgerald also claimed that case files his client had been reading from in court were confiscated by prison guards when he was brought back to Belmarsh, The Guardian reported.



Speaking at Woolwich Crown Court, Mr. Fitzgerald told the presiding judge that the treatment allegedly sustained by Mr. Assange could potentially impinge on the proceedings and amount to contempt of court, the Daily Mail and the Associated Press both reported.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser responded that she would not intervene unless and until Mr. Assange becomes unable to participate in the proceedings, the reports said.

“If it comes to that, please let me know,” the judge told Mr. Fitzgerald, the Mail reported.

Mr. Assange, a 48-year-old Australian, is wanted in the U.S. to stand trial for 18 counts related to the WikiLeaks website and its receipt and publication of classified documents.

His extradition proceedings began Monday at Woolwich, adjacent to Belmarsh, and are slated to run throughout the week before a second round of hearings is held in May.

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