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Saturday, Oct 31, 2020

Julian Assange says rooms in Ecuadorian embassy were bugged

Julian Assange says rooms in Ecuadorian embassy were bugged

A Spanish security firm is accused of spying on the Wikileaks founder in his seven-year hideout.
Julian Assange has given evidence in court over claims his conversations were bugged while he was living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

It is alleged he was targeted with an illegal surveillance campaign in which his private legal papers and medical record were snooped on along with embassy CCTV footage.

A Spanish security firm has been accused of offering the material to Spanish police during an undercover operation.

Assange, 48, appeared via video-link from maximum-security Belmarsh prison, where he is being held until a court decides whether to grant a US extradition request.

The hearing, which is unconnected to the extradition case, was closed to reporters as it involved matters of national security.

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, who represents him in the extradition battle, told the court yesterday: ‘There is a bundle with the revelations in the Spanish proceedings in regards to the ongoing evidence of the bugging of the conversations with his lawyers in the Ecuadorian embassy.’

Last week Assange’s lawyers told a court he was being blocked from seeing evidence in his extradition case because they are not being given enough access to him.

It is understood he would have given evidence to a Spanish judge tasked with investigating the surveillance case from within Westminster Magistrates Court today.

A small crowd of Assange’s supporters gathered outside the court in central London holding banners demanding his release.

His full extradition hearing will be heard at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court on February 24 and is expected to last four weeks.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said she understood the UK government is keen for proceedings not to be delayed.

Assange faces 18 charges in US courts including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion over an alleged scheme to expose military secrets with former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.

Last month Swedish authorities dropped rape allegations made against him in 2010.

He is serving a 50-week jail term for breaching bail after he took refuge in a converted office in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, from which he was evicted earlier this year.
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