Thursday 30 May 2019 12:38 pm

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange ‘too ill’ to appear in court via video link

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was too ill to appear via video at a court hearing in London today, his lawyer has said.

Assange, who is facing extradition to the US on 18 charges related to the leaking of confidential government documents, was due to appear at a hearing via video link from Belmarsh prison.

Read more: Swedish prosecutors file request for Assange arrest warrant

But his lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said the Wikileaks founder was “far from well”. Judge Emma Arbuthnot confirmed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Assange would not be appearing due to ill health.

Wikileaks said it had serious concerns about Assange’s health and that he had been moved to a health ward at the high-security prison in south-east London.

“During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” it said in a statement. “The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.”

The next hearing on the extradition has been scheduled for 12 June.

Earlier this month Assange was scheduled to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail after hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years.

Read more: Assange sentence 'disproportionate' says UN human rights body

The Wikileaks founder entered the embassy in 2012 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges, but was dragged out last month by police. Swedish police have now reopened their investigation and have filed a request for an arrest warrant.

Assange has expressed fear the Sweden case could be a first step to extradition to the US, where he has been charged with publishing classified military documents and conspiring with US soldier Chelsea Manning to hack into government computers