Day 5 of the Julian #Assange extradition hearing is due to begin shortly. I will be posting live updates in the thread below:
The US Department of Justice is attempting to extradite Julian #Assange to the US where he faces 175 years in jail for publishing classified docs through @wikileaks that exposed a slew of war crimes.

Watch the videos below, they'll bring you up to speed.

Julian #Assange has now entered the court. Julian, along with defense and prosecution teams are all wearing masks (only now?) after the hearing was put on hold last week due to fears of a COVID outbreak.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser says that wearing masks is not mandatory in the court. It appears there have been difficulties obtaining one for Julian, but he is wearing one now and Baraiter says he may choose to wear it at his own discretion.
The first expert witness to testify today at #Assange hearing is Eric Lewis of @Reprieve. Eric Lewis is an international lawyer and has lectured on human rights at Oxford.

Repreive's founder, Clive Stafford Smith, also testified to the court last week.
Judge Baraitser says it's "inappropriate" for witnesses to drink coffee in her court, as Eric Lewis takes a swig of his mug, berating him and @trevortimm for this impermissible breach of proceedings.
Fitzgerald QC of the defense will now begin questioning Eric Lewis.
Eric Lewis lists his qualifications. He is Cambridge alumni, taught at Oxford, has worked with @Reprieve on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and has extensive experience in field of human rights and intl law.
Lewis asserts the significance of Obama regime indicting Chelsea Manning @xychelsea but not Julian #Assange and @wikileaks.

Lewis: in the US no publisher has ever been successfully prosecuted for publishing nat sec information.
Lewis refers to the same WaPo article from 2013 we saw mentioned last week, where the DOJ said they had given up on going after #Assange.

Lewis also refers to Pentagon Papers as another example of publishers not being indicted for their work.

Lewis cites very hostile remarks made by Trump regime e.g. Trump saying #Assange deserves the death penalty or Sec. of State (then CIA director) Mike Pompeo's speech at CSIS in 2017 where he refers to @wikileaks as a "non-state hostile intelligence service".
Lewis also refers to Pompeo saying #Assange has "no first amendment rights"; then Att. Gen. Sessions saying "arresting Assange a priority" before charges even brought.

These statements indicate a concerted effort by the Trump regime to go after leakers

Lewis asserts that the superseding indictment brought forward by the DOJ got rid of the NYT issue and essentially singled out Assange.
In Lewis' view, charging #Assange amounts to an "abuse of criminal law enforcement", given the fact that none of the evidence changed and Trump is directing prosecution. None of the evidence changed, only the people at the top did (>further indication trial is political).
Lewis: AUSA Kromberg and prosecution fully aware that Obama admin had no legal grounds to go after Assange, yet charges are brought regardless, lacking any evidence or explanation.

Even in the best case, 20 years is akin to a life sentence for #Assange at this age
Lewis reasserts critical importance of @wikileaks and #Assange's revelations in regards to exposing war crimes. Malfeasance on part of the Trump admin in blocking investigations by the ICC @IntlCrimCourt in Afghanistan, case in point:

Defense has finished cross-examining Eric Lewis.

QC Lewis of the prosecution now takes his turn. I will refer to QC Lewis as Pros. (Prosecution) for clarity.
Pros immediately begins by asking Lewis if he's ever worked for Assange or being paid by #Assange.

Once again, this is a recurring theme we see from the prosecution, attempting to discredit and defame every expert witness that takes the stand as being biased in Julian's favor.
Prosecution points to previous comments made by Lewis where he publicly criticized #Assange's extradition.

Lewis: both my political views and expert opinion can be formed independently; this is by no means a conflict of interest (contrary to what the prosecution alleges).
Prosecution asks Lewis what exactly makes him an expert on detainees?

Lewis reasserts his expertise, having spent extensive time in jails, advocating on behalf of prisoners/clients. He also has a degree in criminology.

Pros snaps at Lewis for giving a "long" answer.
Prosecution continues to try and discredit Lewis by asking him whether he's ever written any articles on prison conditions and if they've been peer reviewed.
Prosecution asks Lewis about an acquitted client who was held under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs).

Prosecution asks if SAMs hindered his client's trial and acquittal in any way.

Lewis: Yes. Under SAMs gov chooses who can visit detainee, monitors conversations, etc
Important to point out, as did @Lawyers4Assange in open letter to UK Gov: #Assange would be placed under SAMs, as AUSA Kromberg has confirmed. Julian Assange would not only be placed in inhumane confinement but denied the right to a fair trial.

Lewis tells the court that if #Assange is extradited to the US, he will be placed in pre-trial detention at Alexandria Detention Center (ADC) in Virginia.

Lewis: the government wouldn't call it that, but it is still effectively solitary confinement.
Lewis: under SAMs detainees aren't allowed breaks unless no other prisoners are around.

Meaning one has to wait until 3am perhaps, when everyone is asleep just to get some exercise.

Keep in mind this is in pre-trial detention before even being convicted of a crime.
James Lewis QC of the prosecution asks Judge to cut video link for 15 mins and complains he cannot stick to time limit when cross examining the expert witness (Eric Lewis) because his answers are too long.

Dude asks questions then gets mad when people actually answer them lol.
Court resumes after exchange between Prosecution and Judge. No changes made to time limits on cross-examination of witnesses, Baraitser tells prosecution to get on with it and pros apologizes.
Expert witness Eric Lewis is back on via video link.

Lewis asserts that indeed the government might cite mental health reasons or notoriety to place #Assange in solitary confinement. Those might appear as legit concerns on paper, but there's no way to counter those measures.
Prosecution are trying to assert with Lewis that SAMs and administrative segregation are allegedly not in violation of Art. 6 European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair trial).
Everything #Assange faces by being extradited to US is in violation not just of the 2003 US-UK extradition treaty but Article 3 (against torture and inhumane treatment) and Article 6 (right to fair trial) of ECHR.

See open letter from @Lawyers4Assange

Just want to take a moment to say fuck the UK and US for this entire #Assange sham trial and their catalogue of war crimes. All of it.
Prosecution states that Lewis' arguments that SAMs and ad-seg violated Babar Ahmad's rights under Articles 3 and 6 of the ECHR were previously rejected in court.
Lewis argues that the slew of war crimes exposed by @wikileaks (and their political nature) as well as #Assange's mental health issues as a result of prolonged confinement and arbitrary imprisonment make his case unique.
Lewis: the effects of Special Administrative Measures and administrative segregation (read: solitary confinement) would be extremely detrimental and harmful to #Assange given the unique nature of his case.
The roadblocks and obstacles imposed by SAMs (alleged recordings of conversations, pre-approved list of visitors and legal counsel, only one phone call a month, no access to news) would impede Julian's ability to build a solid defense and coordinate with his team.
Prosecution alleges that since #Assange is not a terrorist, it's not likely he'll be placed under harsh SAMs or ad-seg; Att. Gen. William Barr will decide at his own discretion based on pertinence to national security.
Lewis says that if extradited #Assange risks being detained at federal supermax prison ADX Florence, in Colorado. Lewis quotes Robert Hood, the warden of the prison who said: "it is far much worse than death"
Prosecution says Lewis has no authority or expertise to comment on potential risks to #Assange's mental health because he is not a doctor.

Prosecution proceeds to attack Lewis' credibility because he asks to reference documents in order to answer the questions. Ridiculous.
Incidentally, multiple MDs have called for Assange's release since James Lewis QC seems to be so adamant in obtaining testimony from licensed physicians.

It really speaks volumes that this kangaroo court which is attempting to extradite #Assange on bogus allegations of cyber crimes can't even get a video link working. There have been technical issues every single day of proceedings.
Courtroom is in complete chaos with multiple journalists locked out of live feed. Eric Lewis of @Reprieve who is testifying on #Assange can be heard by some members of the press but not by people physically at the court.
Maybe Crown Prosecution Service @cpsuk can ask UC Global if they'll lend a hand to fix the court video link. I hear they have years of experience after spying on #Assange for the CIA in the Ecuadorian embassy.

After 2 hours of technical issues court has been adjourned until tomorrow morning. Will be going live shortly to give a summary of today's proceedings in the #Assange hearing. Subscribe for independent journalism: youtube.com/richardmedhurst

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