22:31 GMT17 February 2020
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    It appears that the matter of Julian Assange's possible extradition to the United States will not be resolved this month, as the second part of the hearings regarding this issue is now expected to take place in May.

    The extradition hearings for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be split into two, with the second half being delayed until May, as per the ruling made by a British judge on 23 January.

    Following applications from both the legal team representing Assange and the lawyers representing the United States, Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates' Court decreed that the hearing would start for a week on 23 February, while the remaining three weeks would launch on 18 May.

    This development comes after Assange's team argued that there allegedly wasn't enough time to receive and consider witnesses' statements, and that Assange apparently had difficulty accessing case materials.

    Julian Assange is the founder of a whistleblower group known as WikiLeaks, which in 2010 published a trove of classified files supplied by former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning - files that, among other things, exposed the atrocities committed by US troops during military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Assange was initially accused of sexual harassment and rape in Sweden in 2010, and remained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012 and  2019 where he was granted asylum.

    Supporters of Julian Assange outsde Westminster Magistrates Court 13 December 2019
    Mohamed Elmaazi
    Supporters of Julian Assange outsde Westminster Magistrates Court 13 December 2019

    In April 2019, Assange was arrested by British police after his asylum status was revoked.

    In May, the US Department of Justice indicted Assange on 17 additional charges under the Espionage Age and demanded his extradition.

    If convicted of these charges, the WikiLeaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison.

    Tags:
    schedule, court hearing, extradition, Julian Assange, United Kingdom
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