Judge Sets Assange Extradition Hearing

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face an extradition hearing on 7 and 8 February, a judge has pronounced

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appear in a London court on February 7 to 8, in a hearing to decide whether he will be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, a judge said on Tuesday.

District Judge Nicholas Evans set the forthcoming hearing in Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London, where the February hearing will also take place.

Bail modified

The judge also modified the conditions of Assange’s bail, allowing him to stay in London, rather than the Norfolk-based country house where he has been living since he was released on bail on 16 December.

Assange has been living at Ellingham Hall, in Norfolk, just across from the Suffolk border. The house is owned by Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club, a media club which aids WikiLeaks’ operations in the UK.

For the nights of February 6 and February 7 Assange will be permitted to stay at the Frontline Club’s facility at 13 Norfolk Place in London.

WikiLeaks is currently in the process of releasing a large cache of secret US government documents, an act that has generated intense controversy.

High-profile support

Assange was arrested on 7 December after Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. As a condition of his bail he is required to adhere to a curfew at Ellingham Hall and must wear an electronic tag.

Assange is attracting the sort of support that is usually reserved for political prisoners, with supporters crowding the outside of the court room. Heiress Jemima Khan, political activist Bianca Jagger, film director Ken Loach, and journalist and campaigner John Pilger, are all thought to have contributed to his surety fund.