Assange Refuses to Surrender for Extradition as Legal Fight With U.S. Kicks Off

The Justice Department’s fight to have Julian Assange extradited to face charges in the U.S. kicked off Thursday morning at a court in London where the WikiLeaks founder refused to surrender himself for extradition. Assange appeared at the 20-minute hearing by video link from a high-security prison. Asked by Judge Michael Snow if he wanted to surrender himself for extradition to the U.S., Assange said: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that’s won many, many awards and affected many people.” The extradition case against Assange revolves around the Justice Department’s allegations that he illegally helped Chelsea Manning to crack a computer password to steal thousands of classified documents. The case has been adjourned until May 30, when Assange will be in court for a procedural hearing, following by a substantive hearing planned for June 12. Earlier this week, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison after being found guilty of skipping bail in London seven years ago.