Assange extradition case to be held in September: supporters

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's court date was dropped because the COVID-19 epidemic had prevented him from meeting his lawyers in prison

London (AFP) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will take place on September 7, supporters said on Wednesday, after a delay in proceedings because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Assange had been due to return to court next Monday for the three-week trial but the date was dropped because the COVID-19 epidemic had prevented him from meeting his lawyers in prison.

The Don't Extradite Assange campaign group said no location had been agreed, as Woolwich Crown Court, which is attached to the high security prison where he is being held, was unavailable.

Assange is fighting extradition to the United States to face espionage charges related to WikiLeaks' 2010 publication of documents of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He risks 175 years in prison if convicted.

The 48-year-old Australian has been on remand since last year after skipping bail in 2012 and taking refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden.

His lawyers have repeatedly requested he be released on bail, citing concerns for his mental and physical health, including the risk of contracting COVID-19 behind bars.