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Next hearing on WikiLeaks founder’s extradition due on May 30

Presiding Judge Michael Snow also ruled that the expanded hearing on the Assange case will be held on June 12

LONDON, May 2. /TASS/. The next hearing on the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled for May 30, a TASS correspondent reported from the Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Presiding Judge Michael Snow also ruled that the extended hearing on the Assange case will be held on June 12.

The WikiLeaks founder, who did not appear in the courtroom, said via a video link-up from the place of his custody that he did not want to be extradited to the US.

A spokesperson for WikiLeaks told TASS that two new hearings would be held on these dates as the judge’s schedule was yet unknown. By June 12, the US Department of Justice should announce the final charges for Assange’s extradition.

On Wednesday, London’s Southwark Crown Court sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in prison for violating the conditions of his bail in 2012. Assange, who had been released on 200,000 pounds ($260,000) bail, hid at Ecuador’s embassy and demanded political asylum. Judge Deborah Taylor said Assange would be able to be released on parole after serving just a half of his sentence.

Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012, Assange sought refuge in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.

The WikiLeaks founder was arrested by the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police on April 11 after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum. His lawyers say that if extradited to the United States, Assange may face a 35-year prison term or capital punishment. The US Department of Justice has said, though, that Assange may get a five-year prison term at most for computer hacking.