Assange Returns to Court Over Sweden Extradition

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands with his lawyer Jennifer Robinson in front of Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London

REUTERS/Andrew Winning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared briefly in a London court Tuesday for a procedural hearing over his extradition to Sweden on sexual allegations. (Via BBC)

His lawyers said they were ready for a two-day extradition hearing on 7 and 8 February.  The judge assigned to the case granted a change to Assange’s bail conditions for those dates.  Assange is currently staying at a manor home on the Norfolk-Suffolk border owned by the Frontline Club’s owner, Vaughan Smith, but his lawyer argued that it was difficult to reach the London court in time from that address. He’ll be allowed to stay at the Frontline Club, a journalists’ club in central London, on February 6 and 7 if the people who put up bail for him agree.

(See a TIME cover story on WikiLeaks.)

Assange spoke only to confirm his name, age and address and was joined by celebrity supporters including Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan in court.  Following his 10-minute appearance, Assange later told a group of reporters outside court Tuesday, “We are happy about today’s outcome. I have asked the court to make available to the press our skeleton argument…Our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated and we are stepping up our publishing of materials related to Cablegate.”

(See a TIME video with Assange.)

The 39 year-old Australian hacker, who has infuriated Washington by releasing details of secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his website, has protested his innocence over claims of the sexual assault of two Swedish women. Last week the U.S. government handed out subpoenas to the social networking site Twitter, requesting personal details of people connected to Wikileaks, including Assange.

WikiLeaks also released a statement Tuesday calling for the prosecution of those in the United States who have called for the WikiLeaks founder to be put to death after members of the organization were targeted by violent rhetoric where they drew parallels between the Tuscon shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

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