The extradition case of WikiLeaks’ co-founder Julian Assange will be heard in February 2020, a British court said on Monday, denying a request for a delay.
Assange’s lawyers argued that the U.S. has plotted to kidnap him and requested delay in the full hearing of the extradition to the U.S. but Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the request.
Assange will face 18 counts of hacking the U.S. government computers and violating the espionage law if he is extradited to the U.S., and a potential prison sentence for years.
He was dragged out of the Ecuador’s embassy building in London earlier this year, where he took refuge for more than seven years.
British police said he was arrested for skipping his bail in 2012 and on behalf of the U.S. due to an extradition warrant.
Later, he was found guilty of breaking his bail terms in 2012 after failing to surrender to security services by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and given a 50-week prison term.
Assange was due for a release on Sept. 22, however, he is being held for longer on “substantial grounds” that he would abscond.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order allowing his extradition in June, stating that the extradition request will be handled by the British judiciary.
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