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Assange Stripped Naked and Handcuffed, Lawyer Tells Court

Julian Assange was stripped naked twice and handcuffed 11 times coming and going from the court, the WikiLeaks founder’s lawyer told his US extradition hearing in London on Tuesday.

Assange faces charges under the US Espionage Act for the 2010 release of a trove of files detailing the realities of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Yesterday, Mr Assange was handcuffed 11 times, stripped naked twice at Belmarsh and put in five separate holding cells,” his lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said on Tuesday.

He warned that Assange’s treatment could “impinge on these proceedings” and asked judge Vanessa Baraitser to give “an indication to prison authorities” that the regime should be relaxed.

Baraitser said it was a matter for prison officials, saying she did not have the authority to instruct them on how to treat detainees.

She added that she would expect Assange to be treated fairly and like anyone else.

The 48-year-old Australian is being held at the high-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London during the extradition process.

His full extradition hearing, which opened on Monday, is taking place at the court buildings next to the jail.

Assange wore a grey blazer and a sweater over a collared shirt in court.

He occasionally spoke to his lawyers through the gaps in the glass panels of the dock.

Assange spent much of the past decade holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden, but Washington is now seeking his transfer to stand trial.


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