Julian Assange has been ordered to face a full extradition hearing next year, as his legal team branded charges in the US “an outrageous and full-frontal assault” on journalistic rights.
The WikiLeaks founder is fighting against being sent to the States to face 18 charges that include allegations of conspiring to hack into a classified Pentagon computer.
The US extradition case was formally opened at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, a day after an extradition request was signed off by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Assange, with a scraggly white beard, told the court that “175 years of my life is effectively at stake” as he sought to defend his organisation.
Mark Summers QC, representing Assange, said there are a “multiplicity of profound issues” with the extradition case.
“We say it represents an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights,” he said.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ordered for a full extradition hearing expected to last five days to begin on February 25.
The brief hearing was also told that Assange has a date at the Court of Appeal, with his legal team later explaining he is to appeal against his sentence for a bail breach.