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

Oct 15
Still absorbing the news from Malta - the significance cannot be overstated. 5 years, with so many of us campaigning, to start chipping away at impunity in a single case. This is an important step towards justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia - but what about the bigger picture? 🧵
Globally around 1,000 journalists have been killed in connection with their work over the past decade - the vast majority (around 9 out of 10 cases) committed with full or partial impunity. That’s why it stands out so much when justice is achieved in any case - it’s an anomaly.
This year alone, at @RSF_inter we have tracked killings of 45 journalists and 4 media workers around the world - and we’re only in October. That’s not to mention arbitrary detentions, which are rising year by year. At this moment, a staggering 524 journalists are unjustly jailed.
Read 15 tweets
Apr 20
Today the Westminster Magistrates’ Court will hold a short hearing in the extradition case against Julian Assange. The court is expected to give an order referring the matter back to the Home Office. I’ll be monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates on this thread. 1/
The hearing is listed for 10:15 am UK time. In a welcome change from the previous judge (Vanessa Baraitser), I’ve been granted remote access as an NGO observer. I’ll be following proceedings online and will be outside court afterwards to give a statement for @RSF_inter. 2/
Once the court issues the order, the defence has 4 weeks to make representations, then Home Secretary @pritipatel could approve/reject extradition at any time. @RSF_inter has called on her to protect journalism & press freedom by refusing extradition. She should #FreeAssange! 3/
Read 10 tweets
Jan 24
Back at the High Court this morning awaiting the decision on whether the judges will accept @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s right to appeal his extradition case to the Supreme Court. The hearing starts at 10:45. I’ll be monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates here. Image
Today’s decision will follow the High Court’s ruling of 10 December, overturning the district judge’s decision barring Assange’s extradition on mental health grounds. This court found in favour of the US’ diplomatic assurances re. Assange’s treatment. rsf.org/en/news/rsf-co…
Good thread by @StellaMoris1 explaining the various possible scenarios we could see with today’s ruling.
Read 8 tweets
Jan 19
I’ll be back in court today to monitor the ongoing trial in the case of Arron Banks v @carolecadwalla. @RSF_inter and many other expert free expression organisations consider this vexatious case a clear example of SLAPP. I’ll have updates on this thread. rsf.org/en/news/ninete…
Catch up on my live thread from Monday’s proceedings here:
.@johnsweeneyroar’s piece for @BylineTimes on the first two days of the trial is also very good: bylinetimes.com/2022/01/17/arr…
Read 52 tweets
Jan 18
I’ll be back at Kingston Crown Court this afternoon for @RSF_inter to monitor the ongoing trial in the case of Muhammad Gohir Khan, a British citizen accused of conspiring to murder exiled Pakistani blogger @AWGoraya. Catch up on my thread from last week here 👇
These proceedings were expected to last two weeks, and could possibly continue through 1 February. I’m monitoring in person when possible, and @RSF_inter is following closely even when we’re not present in court.
Journalists @MurtazaViews @SecKermani and @AtikaRehman are good to follow for close coverage. Here’s Murtaza’s piece on yesterday’s proceedings: thenews.com.pk/print/926136-a…
Read 5 tweets
Jan 17
I’m at the High Court this morning for @RSF_inter, along with @AzzurraMoores, as @carolecadwalla faces a vexatious defamation suit brought by Arron Banks. RSF is one of many organisations that considers this a SLAPP case, and stands in Carole support. rsf.org/en/news/sixtee…
.@RSF_inter is proud to support @carolecadwalla and her courageous public interest journalism. We were in court by her side when this case opened more than two years ago, and we’ll see it through. We’re also proud she’s one of the 2018 laureates of our Press Freedom Prize.
On Friday, Arron Banks gave lengthy testimony about his case against @carolecadwalla, in which he singles her out (separate from her reporting for @guardian/@ObserverUK) on the basis of a Ted talk and a tweet. Carole is expected to take the stand in her defence today.
Read 43 tweets

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