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WikiLeaks founder gears up to fight extradition demand by US

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WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces a court hearing. Photo: Getty

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces a court hearing. Photo: Getty

AFP via Getty Images

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces a court hearing. Photo: Getty

The US government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face off today in an extradition hearing in a high-security London courthouse.

The US authorities are trying to have the Australian sent to them for trial on spy charges, a decade after WikiLeaks published a trove of classified military documents.

The 18 charges carry a maximum term of 175 years.

The Woolwich Crown Court hearing follows years of drama, including Mr Assange (48) taking refuge for seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, beyond the reach of the authorities in Sweden, who wanted to try him on sex assault charges.

He had refused to go to Stockholm, saying he feared extradition or illegal rendition to the US or Guantanamo Bay.

Irish Independent