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

21 Sep
Week three, Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing. A new thread.

#FreeAssange 1/
It’s now Day 10 of proceedings at the Old Bailey in London. Campaigns Officer @AustinPatrickC is currently in court monitoring in person for @RSF_inter. I’ll be back in court myself tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s my recap from last week.
Some exciting news: thanks to your support, signatures on @RSF_inter’s #FreeAssange petition have more than doubled since the hearing began. Please keep signing & sharing, and we’ll take the petition back to @10DowningStreet along with @StellaMoris1 when proceedings conclude. 3/
Read 27 tweets
10 Sep
Good morning from Day 4 of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing at the Old Bailey! Will share today’s updates on this thread.

#FreeAssange 1/
Waiting outside the public gallery entrance with activists @deepa_driver and Moritz Müller, who have been queuing since the early hours to gain access. So grateful for @rubio49158845, who kindly gave me his seat again 🙏 2/ Image
We *should* be getting in this morning, but have been told the public won’t be admitted until 11:30 - we’re not sure why. Only three of us will be allowed into the public gallery, which means they’re still saving spaces for the mysterious “VIPs” who have still yet to show up. 3/
Read 11 tweets
9 Sep
On the way back to the Old Bailey this morning to try again to monitor the US extradition hearing in the case of @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. The court has severely restricted NGO access, so it is very uncertain whether my @RSF_inter colleague @cmihr & I will get in. 1/
The court has refused to recognise or accommodate the role of professional NGO observers, so we are left to compete for spaces in the public gallery, which has been limited to 2 to 5 people, despite the fact that there are 36 seats in that part of the overflow courtroom alone. 2/
On day 1, we finally got in due to the intervention of the German embassy & political observers. On day 2, I was able to monitor the afternoon session thanks to the kindness of an activist who had queued for hours & gave me his seat so we could tell the world what’s happening. 3/
Read 15 tweets
8 Sep
Some observations on Julian Assange’s extradition hearing so far, after a very hectic start (and a very long day!) yesterday.


#FreeAssange 1/
Yesterday morning, @StellaMoris1, @cmihr and I attempted to deliver @RSF_inter’s petition with more than 80,000 signatures calling on the UK authorities not to extradite Julian Assange. @10DowningStreet refused to accept it. 2/
Instead we brought our banner with the 80,000 signatures to the Old Bailey court, where we also addressed the @DEAcampaign protest. We reiterated our call for Julian Assange to be released, for the charges against him to be dropped, and for him not to be extradited to the US. 3/
Read 11 tweets
14 Aug
As I’m on leave, my colleague @katifallon_ tried to attend this morning’s hearing in Julian Assange’s case for @RSF_inter. However, only 4 people were allowed into the public gallery, so she (6th in line) was turned away. I’m now attempting to monitor on the phone. #FreeAssange
It seems only five journalists were allowed into the courtroom. The rest of us (press + NGO observers) are stuck on the conference call system that has proven completely unfit for purpose since lockdown began.
Good recap of this morning’s issues with the Assange hearing. Would be almost comical if it didn’t have such worrying implications for due process and open justice.
Read 6 tweets
27 Jul
I’ll shortly be remotely monitoring this morning’s administrative hearing in @wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s case on behalf of @RSF_inter. Assange is expected to appear via video link for the first time since March. #FreeAssange
I’m currently stuck on the line with hold music. The last time this happened, the court failed to ever connect the teleconference line to the entire hearing - barring access to media and NGO observers, apart from the handful who were able to attend in person. Unacceptable.
I would expect the court to make better provisions having held proceedings remotely for over 4 months now. I’m concerned about the implications for September’s full extradition hearing. Assange’s case is overwhelmingly in the public interest & proceedings must be open to scrutiny
Read 6 tweets

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