LONDON (Reuters) - Julian Assange appeared before a British court for a fourth day on Thursday to fight an extradition request from the United States which wants to put the 48-year-old Wikileaks founder on trial for hacking government computers and violating an espionage law.
Below are main developments and quotes from the hearing at Woolwich Crown Court:
* Assange was given a pair of headphones to help him hear proceedings better after he complained that he was struggling to follow the hearing. The court briefly adjourned to allow him to see if they help him hear. His lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, said “We will give them a try.” Assange sat in the dock with the headphones on but took them off after about 30 minutes.
The judge on Wednesday did not agree to Assange’s request to be released from the glass dock at the back of the court so he can sit with his lawyers to better hear the proceedings. She said he should make a formal application to do so.
* James Lewis, a lawyer for the U.S. government, disputed arguments by Assange’s lawyers that he cannot be sent to the United States because a treaty between the two countries bans extradition for political offences.
Lewis says it does not appear Assange was trying to bring the government down.
“It can’t possibly be said that there is a political struggle in existence between the American government and opposing factions,” he told the court.
* Assange’s lawyer Fitzgerald said his client is protected by privileges in the U.S.-UK extradition treaty because he was trying to change U.S. government policy.
Fitzgerald said Assange did indeed change U.S. government policy after publishing classified information about Guantanamo Bay and the actions of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Wikileaks didn’t just seek to induce change, it did induce change,” he said.
The court adjourned for lunch, after which it will hear Assange’s formal application to be allowed to sit with his lawyers.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison/Guy Faulconbridge