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Julian Assange begins fight against computer hacking extradition to US

Julian Assange begins fight against computer hacking extradition to US

Thursday's hearing comes less than 24 hours after Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in the UK.

Court artist sketch depicting Julian Assange, left, as he appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London, May 1, 2019. The Australian will spend the next 11-and-a-half months in a British jail despite offering an "unreserved apology" for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden to face sex assault allegations.

They said the charge carries a maximum of five years' imprisonment and relates to Assange's "alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information" in U.S. history. He remained there for almost seven years until Ecuador withdrew asylum and he was subsequently arrested by British police.

Julian Assange was arrested by Scotland Yard police officers inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in Central London after seven years.

The sentence on bail charges is just two weeks short of the maximum one-year sentence he could have received, despite already being held in arbitrary detention by the British authorities since he was first detained in London in December 2010.

The indictment reportedly charges that Assange assisted her "in cracking a password stored on the US Department of Defense computers".

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"Tomorrow.is the start of the big and most important fight", Kristinn Hrafnsson from WikiLeaks said outside court.

Appearing via video link from Belmarsh Prison and wearing jeans, a dark jacket and light coloured top, he said: "I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people". "I won't surrender to the US for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected lives", Assange told the court, according to atweet from a USA Today correspondent.

Assange could face up to five years in jail if found guilty, although his team is fighting his extradition and the process could take years. The judge set a procedural hearing for May 30, with a substantive hearing to follow on June 12 once a full United States extradition request has been received and studied by Assange's lawyers.

If Swedish prosecutors do decide to reopen their investigation and issue a new arrest warrant for Assange, it will be down to U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid to make the decision on which request to honor - if any. The two had allegedly "engaged in real time discussions regarding Chelsea Manning's dissemination of confidential records to Mr. Assange".

The crowd protesting Julian Assange's extradition at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers told a courtroom packed with journalists and WikiLeaks supporters that his client sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy because "he was living with overwhelming fear of being rendered to the U.S." over his WikiLeaks activities.