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Snowy, wet day at Woolwich courthouse in London. Day 4 of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing should begin very soon

Thread for Day 4 updates.
We stopped and started the day’s proceedings. Assange was given a head set so he can hear the proceedings while in the glass box. The prosecution and the defense are going to try and speak into the microphones. But the prosecutor doesn’t like that he has to bend over to speak.
James Lewis, prosecutor, is finishing argument from Day 3.

“To introduce political offense exception by the backdoor would be to subvert the intention of the Parliament”

See here for some background:…
Apparently, the defense made some formal request to court to have Assange sit with them in the well, but we have not seen the submission. The judge made no ruling. I presume the headset is the judge’s attempt to avoid having to rule on this request.
Issue isn’t can Assange hear but can he participate in his defense. He wants to be able to consult with attorneys during proceedings and judge is prioritizing the security concerns of guards and counter-terrorism courthouse personnel over due process rights.
Prosecution says defense must “equate what Mr. Assange is alleged to have done against whether or not the only purpose was to change the government in America or induce America to change its policy both of which we say it’s not.” So it does not fall within political offense
In so many words, prosecutor says political offense exception was useful to countries in Western empire (who upheld “liberal democracy”) long ago, but times have changed. Their power has waned. Who are dissidents we wish to protect is more murky #Assange
It definitely sounds like Lewis is arguing political offense exception was tool for US government to protect dissidents that were useful to its agenda. Government does not rely on it as much anymore. Of course not because it gets in the way of terrorism extraditions #Assange
Lewis: Political offense exception was “outdated” in “modern society.” #Assange
Lewis: “Strongest parliamentary intention to remove the political offense exception.” And, “Entirely consistent when one reads the outmoded and outdated reasoning for originally having a political offense exception” in 1870 law #Assange
Lewis: “It’s no good to rely on France or other international countries, which may have an emphasis on and a definition of a pure political offense.” #Assange
Lewis: “The gravaman of allegations against [Assange] are not his leaking of materials to the press but rather his actions in publishing [the materials].”
Lewis says Assange case is not analogous to political refugee cases.
Lewis: “Any bare assertion that WikiLeaks was engaged in a struggle against US government...Or was seeking to bring a policy change would need to be examined far more closely.”

Prosecution seeks to erase any political or public interest motive to Assange’s publishing
Assange is never in court when judge sits down to start proceedings. We are consistently waiting for guards.
Assange is here now, wearing sweater and jacket which he wasn’t wearing before
Defense responds to prosecution. “Funny thing to describe something as outdated that is recognized in UN model treaty.” In US treaties. In Interpol convention. #Assange
Defense: “What was outdated was the failure to provide exceptions for violent or terrorist offenses but that was what was done now.” #Assange
Judge pushes Edward Fitzgerald, defense, to clarify whether Assange is covered by treaty.

“We’re in pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world,” where country says yes there is this treaty governing extraditions but it’s got nothing to do with lawfulness of request or detention.
Judge replies that answer is treaty was signed by executive authorities, not Parliament. #Assange
Defense points to prosecution’s claim that it is improper for court to interpret the provisions of a treaty and argues House of Lords recognized this is what should be done. Court can interpret words of a treaty and its meaning #Assange
Judge asks the defense how exception that is supposed to cover political struggle covers Assange. And defense says it extends to someone seeking to “induce change in government policy.”
Judge asks why he contends Assange sought to induce a change in public policy rather than expose government wrongdoing
Defense: Two are intimately connected. “Why was he seeking to expose the rules of engagement [for Iraq]?” #Assange
Defense: Rules of engagement were “published to show that war crimes [were committed] that breached their own rules of engagement.” (Meaning the US military) #Assange
Defense: Guantanamo detainee files were disclosed to “show there were abuses of human rights and torture being done in the war on terror” #Assange
Defense: “It’s the very definition of seeking to induce a government to change a policy.” #Assange
Defense: "What other purpose could there be to publishing the rules of engagement as well, as the Apache strike ["Collateral Murder" video], but to show the war was being prosecuted in conflict with human rights." #Assange
This crucial statement from Edward Fitzgerald continued. What other purpose could there be to publishing the Guantanamo detainee files but to "induce a change in public policy with Guantanamo" #Assange
Defense: "Same with revealing civilian deaths" through the Iraq War Logs and Afghanistan War Logs. That was to "induce a change in public policy." #Assange
Defense: "WikiLeaks did effect a change because it was one of the reasons why there was a change and was a withdrawal [from Iraq]." #Assange
This is particularly what the defense referenced. It is to the credit of both Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks that US withdrawal from Iraq was hastened in aftermath of this published cable.

US has "repeatedly said WikiLeaks opposes policy in Afghanistan." Thus, by their own reasoning, WikiLeaks publications were to "induce a change in government policy. #Assange
Longer lunch break. When court returns, we'll hear argument from defense related to whether Assange will remain in the glass box in the court or not.
While we're on lunch break in Assange extradition hearing, let me make modest request. I'm one of handful of US reporters at court. I don't see reporters from wire services today.

Please, if you think reporting is essential, donate few dollars:

Returning from lunch. I’m tremendously grateful to those of you who are donating to support my independent journalism.

Assange is in the courtroom, and we should have afternoon argument in next few minutes.
Sommers (defense) says headphones don’t fix problems. When talking in microphones, he can’t hear anyway. When we’re not talking, it’s difficult to hear. Ears are covered and headphones feed ambient noise. #Assange
Sommers: Secure docks [glass boxes] “have been subject of reports, review, and commentary for some time.”

Recent advent in English courts and around 20 years ago didn’t exist. #Assange
Sommers: No statutory requirement for glass boxes. Human rights organizations are concerned they impact on fair trial. It can inhibit a defendant’s ability to participate effectively #Assange
Sommers: “Now been in court for four days and Mr. Assange has dealt with those four days stoically.”
Sommers: Problems arise because Assange is a “vulnerable person. You’re aware of the psychiatric evidence.”
Defense says they can’t see Assange when he wants to communicate. Judge asks who is seated in last row behind them. Are they part of your legal team? She says she’s observed Assange talking with them.
But Sommers says Assange can’t pass notes.

Yes, perhaps, the judge says Serco, which is contracted for security, could work out something that would allow exchange of documents between Assange and attorneys
Sommers says the ability to speak confidentially through those glass slats is difficult. Conversations happen in proximity to security guards, representatives of US government, in proximity to microphones - a concern to Assange and lawyers given evidence of secret recordings
Judge refuses request to allow Assange to sit with his attorneys during proceedings
I’ll go back and recap. This is quite important to the rights of the accused. #Assange
Sommers described the burden on Assange that he will experience during evidentiary hearing in May-June. The judge asserts court can take frequent breaks and allow for much passing of notes to deal with the issue of participation in his defense.
Sommers noted this goes to ability of defense to present evidence coherently and in uninterrupted manner. And defendants sit with counsel in many countries, including America. Practice around the world generally speaking is to allow defendants to sit with lawyers #Assange
Judge accepted she had the jurisdiction to make a ruling on whether Assange could sit with lawyers
Defense made it clear they weren’t asking for bail. Their request was “far more nuanced, reasonable, and proportionate.” #Assange
So here is what the judge asserted in her ruling... #Assange
Judge: Physical layout of court and distance between Assange and legal team in courtroom is remedied by legal team members in back row. “You’ve has no difficulty at all in attracting attention of those who sit on legal team” and communicating via notes.
On poor acoustics, judge said she had been concerned about proximity of protests to court. Yet he was informed proceedings could pause and part of proceedings could be repeated if he had difficulty #Assange
I’ve been corrected. Defense attorney is Summers, not Sommers. Carrying on.
Judge: Headphones were provided, “which I’m told amplifies sound.” Assange declined to say when he could and could not hear proceedings
Judge added restrictions on passing notes, limitations on legal visits outside the courtroom, and presence of others who impact on ability to have confidential conversations can be remedied with measures for reasonable adequate access #Assange
Judge: Very happy to start proceedings later than usual so Assange can take instruction or he can consult with attorneys. Court offers to tak frequent breaks in three-week hearing. “If it extends three-week to much longer period,” more than happy to accommodate
On matter of Assange’s psychiatric vulnerability, judge says she’s “not been told of any particular aspect of condition that requires you to leave the secure dock” and sit with legal team
Judge concluded there are “sensible, appropriate, and proportionate measures that can and, if necessary, will be taken.” #Assange
It’s absurd to think the judge would rather the courthouse take double the time and expend double the resources all so it can keep Assange in a glass box. Undermining his due process rights makes proceedings even more cumbersome than already are
I’ll emphasize: US government is neutral and was willing to let Assange sit with attorneys. Whole world recognizes this standard as way to ensure rights of defendants are protected. Judge Baraitser rejected for no other reason than she’s not going to change procedure for Assange
Court is adjourned. This week’s proceedings are over.

Will be case management hearing in April.

Next extradition hearing is 3 weeks in May-June #Assange
I’ll be outside the courthouse to give a live report on Day 4, the final day of this month’s hearing #Assange
Here is the link. I’ll be live in a brief moment:…
Judge: Julian Assange must remain in glass box during extradition proceedings…
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