LONDON (AP) – A British judge said on Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should attend his next trial unless he can provide medical evidence to support his absence.
Assange lawyers said that for medical reasons, he was unable to attend the latest hearing on his US extradition case by video link from prison.
District judge Vanessa Baraitser set another trial date on July 27 and said Assange should appear “unless there is medical evidence” to declare his absence.
The 48-year-old Australian has been charged in the US with 18 allegations of disclosure of classified documents. Prosecutors say he teamed up with U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password, hack a Pentagon computer, and release secret diplomatic cables and military records of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last week, the United States Department of Justice added a new, outdated indictment alleging that Assange worked with members of hacking organizations and attempted recruiting to provide WikiLeaks with classified information. The indictment does not add any new charges, but extends the charges against Assange.
Assange was arrested last year after being deported from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he took refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden on charges of rape and sexual assault.
He is in London Belmarsh prison awaiting a full extradition hearing, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally scheduled to begin in May, but is now scheduled to begin on September 7.
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