Report by Joe Brack EF Press
US v Julian Assange, Court 10, scheduled for 11.45pm.
Judge Ikram standing in for Baraitser, Edward Fitzgerald QC for the defence, Joel Smith QC for the prosecution. Listed as the last case of the session, some 15 other cases for extradition to precede, Albanians, Bulgarians, Poles, Romanians, and one other US request. I spoke to Assange’s defence team who were concerned that Julian was unable to attend via video link due to the covid prison conditions and would have to speak to Ikram in the light of these circumstances.
3 members of the public were admitted at 10am while earlier cases were being heard. and 2 press a little later as almost an hour early Smith and Fitzgerald were before Judge Ikram with the latest information from HMP Belmarsh and the non attendance of the remand detainee. Ikram stated that he would need sight of the detainee and claimed that Belmarsh had informed the court that Assange had refused the move due to covid. Smith claimed that at HMP Wandsworth they were not moving detainees in blocks with covid. With a half crooked grin Ikram, ‘That’s Wandsworth’, response implied a damning indictment of HMP Belmarsh.
Fitzgerald pursued a delay for the hearing for 14 days to ensure a safer environment for a video link from Belmarsh. The prosecution readily agreed as it would be one last case management hearing on 11 December at 10:30 am, before 4 January 2021 judgement day. Ikram checked the dates with the clerk and confirmed.
Yet another frustrating, delayed, and non functional hearing proving, time after time, Julian Assange should not be in a high security, covid infested prison while awaiting judgement, but receiving urgent and overdue medical attention in a safe environment to ensure he is able to face judgement next year and to enjoy his liberty once this farcical persecution is over, whatever the result of Judge Baraitser’s looming opinion.
Joe Brack EF Press.