Assange's lawyers claim the case is politically motivated and have evidence of a CIA conspiracy

Julian Assange
Gillian Assange / Photo: EPA-EFE / FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

The High Court in London has completed the first day of hearings in relation to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's appeal against the decision to extradite him to the United States.

Assange's lawyers first addressed the court, who said it was a politically motivated case, adding that their client's human rights had been violated, the BBC reports.

They pointed out that they have evidence of a plot by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill Assange during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Barrister Ed Fitzgerald QC said US guarantees of fair treatment could not be trusted, adding that his client could be sentenced in a "grossly unfair and disproportionate manner if extradited".

During the hearing, journalists and supporters of Assange protested in front of the court in London.

The continuation of the trial is scheduled for tomorrow, when the American lawyers will address the court.

The United States is seeking Assange's extradition for publishing secret military files in 2010 and 2011, and Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that Assange should be extradited, rejecting claims that he could commit suicide in an American prison due to poor mental health.

Assange's WikiLeaks portal rose to prominence in 2010 when it released video of a 2007 attack by US Army Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed dozens of people, including two Reuters journalists.

Since then, thousands of secret classified documents and diplomatic reports have been released in which the US criticizes world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

In the United States, Assange is accused of espionage on 17 counts, and if found guilty, he could receive up to 175 years in prison.

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