Good morning from week two of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing at the Old Bailey in London! Will share this week’s observations in this new thread.

#FreeAssange 1/
I’m not at court this morning, but have a colleague holding my place so I can hopefully monitor this afternoon’s sitting. He was told 3 of the 5 public gallery places are still being held for these mysterious no-show “VIPs”, meaning only 2 are currently occupied. Ridiculous. 2/
After last week’s Covid scare, witness testimony has resumed with Eric Lewis testifying this morning. Would love to be able to watch remotely, but @RSF_inter & all other NGOs had their access to the video link revoked last week. Back later - hopefully having gotten into court! 3/
Waiting for the doors to open for the afternoon session. Thanks to @RSF_inter’s new Campaigns Officer @AustinPatrickC queuing for hours, I *should* be allowed into the public gallery now. Eric Lewis is expected to continue testifying for the defence. 4/ Image
I got into the afternoon session, but technical difficulties once again prevented witness testimony from continuing. We sat in the public gallery for two hours whilst the court unsuccessfully attempted to reconnect Eric Lewis. Extremely frustrating. 5/
What I did observe was the prosecution, James Lewis, requesting that the judge impose restrictions on how witnesses can answer his questions, and the defence requesting access to Julian Assange in the cells under the court to confer with their client and take instructions. 6/
While NGOs, the public & media face extreme access restrictions, the overflow court is now nearly empty. 5 journalists + 1 political observer were on the floor w/33 empty seats around them, and eventually 5 of us were let into the public gallery, surrounded by 30 empty seats. 7/
This sounds small, but is an example of the death by 1,000 cuts I’ve referred to: there’s been incessant buzzing from a light in the public gallery since Wednesday that’s giving observers headaches & making it difficult to hear proceedings. All it needs is a lightbulb removed. 8/
The hours of queuing, the arguing, the loss of our devices, the lack of so much as water, the buzzing light & other factors all combine to make this fairly miserable. I’m convinced that’s the point - to discourage anyone from sticking with it. But we’ll be here no matter what. 9/
It also makes me think of how utterly awful conditions are for Assange, when each individual issue can be explained away & must await a bureaucratic response - like not having his glasses for months. The cumulative impact must be unbearable - and will be far worse in the US. 10/
Here’s my overview for @RSF_inter on the start of the second week of proceedings. That’s all for tonight - back in the morning, when I’ll try again to get into court. 11/
Good morning from day 6 of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing! Looks like @AustinPatrickC and I should get into the public gallery this morning. Still no sign of these “VIPs”. Here’s hoping the court manages to connect Eric Lewis this morning to continue his testimony. 12/ Image
We monitored three hours of testimony this morning. Eric Lewis was very strong, despite concerted attempts by the prosecution to rattle him. His remarks on the likely heavy sentencing of Julian Assange, and the treatment he would face in prison in the US, were powerful. 13/
Technical issues were mostly resolved, but in the overflow court, there was serious reverberation from the video link being played in the main court, making it at times hard to follow Eric Lewis’ testimony. This is what those viewing remotely would have experienced as well. 14/
On a positive note, the horrible buzzing light was finally fixed this morning, thanks to the persistence of @dhbln’s complaints. That made proceedings much easier to hear, and I’m grateful to not have a headache today. 15/
I’m working on some other urgent cases this afternoon, but court is back in session - Eric Lewis concluded and another US legal expert, Tom Durkin, is now testifying. I’ll be back at court tomorrow to attempt to monitor further in person. 16/

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More from @rebecca_vincent

11 Aug
Today at 10:30 am the UK High Court will begin to consider the US government’s appeal against the court decision opposing @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. I’ll be in court monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates on this thread. #FreeAssange
For the first time in the extradition proceedings against Assange, the court has accredited professional NGO observers. I’ve been assigned a seat in the well of the court for @RSF_inter, as has a representative of @amnesty. Frankly I will fully trust this only once I’m inside. 2/
Those who have been following will know the long and difficult history of our access issues at 3 prior courts in this case. @RSF_inter has been the only NGO to monitor the full extradition proceedings despite severe restrictions previously imposed by the District Judge. 3/
Read 25 tweets
10 Aug
Tomorrow at 10:30 the UK High Court will hold a preliminary hearing in the US government’s appeal against the court decision opposing @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s extradition to the US.

A reading list of @RSF_inter materials for those interested (thread).

Please note that we are the only NGO that has monitored the full extradition proceedings, despite severe restrictions imposed by the court. Our analysis is based on in-person observations of each stage of these proceedings. 2/
.@RSF_inter’s observations and analysis of the first week of proceedings at Woolwich Crown Court in February 2020 when legal arguments were heard, underscoring the US’ lack of evidence for the charges against Assange:… 3/
Read 13 tweets
27 May
Starting now: @HouseofCommons is holding a Westminster Hall Debate on global press freedom to mark World Press Freedom Day earlier this month, sponsored by @DamianCollins as Chair of the APPG on Media Freedom. Watch live here:…
Strong start from @DamianCollins, mentioning the situation in Belarus, the murders of Jamal Khashoggi & #DaphneCaruanaGalizia, @mariaressa’s fight to #HoldTheLine in the Philippines, the SLAPP case against @CatherineBelton & many more worrying examples, citing @RSF_inter figures.
.@jeremycorbyn raises concerns around media ownership, the need to ensure access for all to social media, the case of Anabel Hernandez in Mexico, the jailing of journalists around the world, the arrest of Roman Pratasevich in Belarus, and the targeting of journalists in Gaza.
Read 21 tweets
31 Jan
It’s been a worrying few days for UK press freedom. On Thursday, photojournalist @andyaitchison was arrested for photographing a protest against poor conditions in Napier Barracks, a military camp in Kent housing hundreds of asylum seekers. 1/…
On Friday, government equalities minister @KemiBadenoch triggered a flood of abuse & threats against @HuffPostUK reporter @Nadine_Writes by smearing her (in an 8-part Twitter thread) simply for doing her job by asking a question in the public interest. 2/…
This comes just a week after government minister @nadhimzahawi and other Tory MPs attacked @yorkshirepost and @RobynVinter for their accurate public interest reporting on Covid jabs being diverted to other regions. 3/…
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
Good morning. I’ll have updates on Julian Assange’s bail hearing on this thread today. The hearing takes place at 10 am GMT at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. @RSF_inter calls again for Assange’s immediate release.

#FreeAssange 1/
I’m on my way to court. Escaped the hellish queue for the public gallery today only because Assange’s family have been kind enough to put me on their list - so unless the court pulls something funny, I should get in without problems today. 2/
The thought of walking into court at a reasonable time and taking a seat like a normal person today seems like a luxury. We’ve been treated so terribly in monitoring hearings in this case since last February. Again, this is not how we’re accustomed to doing our jobs, anywhere. 3/
Read 28 tweets
5 Jan
Hello new followers! Can I introduce you to some of @RSF_inter’s other priority cases? They all deserve much more attention and support! Thread.
#DaphneCaruanaGalizia was a courageous Maltese journalist assassinated by a car bomb near her home in October 2017. More than three years on, there’s still been no justice for Daphne or the extensive corruption she had uncovered. Some background here:…
We are working to support her family’s campaign for #JusticeforDaphne. Follow @daphnefdtn, her sons @mcaruanagalizia, @acaruanagalizia & @pcaruanagalizia, her sisters @Corinne_Vella & @MandyMallia, and her niece @meg_mallia. @TheShiftNews is also an excellent resource.
Read 12 tweets

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