- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2020

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange complained in a British courtroom Wednesday that he is unable to speak privately with lawyers defending him against a U.S. extradition request.

Mr. Assange sounded off during the third day of his extradition trial after the presiding judge asked if he was well enough to participate in the proceedings, attendees reported.

“I can’t speak with my lawyers with any confidentiality,” Mr. Assange said from behind bulletproof glass in the back of the courtroom, Bloomberg reported from London.

“I am having enough difficulty concentrating as it is, I have very little contact with my lawyers; the other side has 100 times more contact hours each day. I am not able to participate … I am as much a participant in this court as a spectator at Wimbledon,” Mr. Assange added, The Australian reported.

Mr. Assange also complained about microphones positioned around the courtroom and claimed spectators included unnamed U.S. Embassy staffers, The Los Angeles Times reported.

A lawyer for Mr. Assange said his legal team would ask Thursday for permission to let WikiLeaks publisher be seated with his attorneys during the proceedings, the outlets reported.

“This is a gentle man of an intellectual nature. There is no reason why he shouldn’t sit with us and be able to communicate should he need to during the hearing,” said Mr. Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, according to The L.A. Times.

Mr. Assange, a 48-year-old Australian, is wanted in the U.S. to stand trial for charges related to receiving and publishing classified material published by his WikiLeaks website.

Extradition proceedings are slated to continue throughout the week at Woolwich Crown Court in London before second round of hearings starts in May.

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