JULIAN Assange is set to appear in court by video today after campaigners claimed his defence against extradition to the USA is being hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wikileaks founder Assange is wanted by the USA to face 17 charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. He is alleged to have conspired to commit computer intrusion after the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.

Assange faces up to 175 years in jail if extradited and found guilty. The admitted source of the leaks, former US soldier Chelsea Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in military jail after the 2013 court martial and has subsequently been jailed for a year for refusing to testify to a Grand Jury about Assange.

Despite the Obama regime’s decision not to prosecute Assange because of its implications for press freedom, the Trump administration decided to institute extradition proceedings.

Assange will not be able to rely on US constitutional free press protections because he is not

a US citizen.

A three-week hearing has been set for September but lawyers for Assange will tell Westminster Magistrates Court today that Assange has not been able to meet with his lawyers to prepare his extradition case due to the pandemic.

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said “Julian has not been able to see his lawyers for 17 weeks. The computer supplied to him after over a year of asking has its keys glued down and the typing function is disabled.

“The case material consists of tens of thousands of pages, and Julian cannot even type up notes or instructions for his lawyers. Each and every step of the way, the tools Julian should have to be able to put up a fight are being taken away

from him.

“I call on UK prisons minister Robert Buckland to take every step necessary to reverse restrictions that are preventing Julian from being able to take part in and prepare his legal defence.”