Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces 18 new charges | UK | News (Reports)

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The 37-year-old lawyer, who came out of hiding to support the Wikileaks founder, has two children with him following a clandestine relationship conducted behind closed doors at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange’s father John Shipton showed off a photo of his son with Stella to the crowd and revealed their boys, Gabriel, three, and Max, one, had not been able to see their father for six months due to lockdown.

He said: “The insistence, the malice that constantly falls like a Niagara upon Julian is just appalling.”

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Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, 79, was also outside court where Assange, 49, faces deportation to the US to face espionage charges.

She said: “Julian Assange is the trigger, he is shining the light on all the corruption in the world.”

The Australian is accused of plotting to hack into administration databases and conspiring to obtain and disclose national defence information.

Assange, who faces a maximum prison term of 175 years if convicted, was presented with 18 new charges as yesterday’s hearing was about to begin.

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His barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, tried to get them thrown out, but District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that they should be heard.

The court heard claims that Assange recruited a 17-year-old in Iceland to hack into a former associate’s computer to alter records of their conversations.

But the defence claimed the teenager had been convicted of fraud, theft and impersonating Assange in his homeland.

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Mr Fitzgerald said: “The FBI were kicked out of Iceland by the Icelandic authorities because it was thought they were using the teenager to frame Mr Assange.”

Assange, who spent seven years holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy before being arrested in April last year, has been held at London’s Belmarsh prison ever since.

His case was adjourned before the coronavirus lockdown and reopened yesterday for a hearing expected to last four weeks.

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