London, Jun 14 : The Westminster Magistrates Court in London said on Friday that a full hearing in the extradition case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would be held in February next year.
The UK judge ruled that the trial to determine whether the whistleblower should face trial in the United States would last five days and would be preceded by several technical hearings, The Verge reported.
Assange appeared at the hearing by a video link from a London prison where he is serving a 50-week term for skipping bail in 2012. He was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy this April after it withdrew his asylum status.
The US Department of Justice accuses the 47-year-old of hacking government computers and illegally obtaining and publishing classified data in violation of the US espionage act. Assange faces 18 charges, which carry a lengthy prison term.
Assange faces 18 charges related to the leaking of classified information published by WikiLeaks. US prosecutors allege that he conspired with former US Army private Chelsea Manning to obtain the material, which included State Department diplomatic cables and documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the last seven years, Assange has been lodged in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after the possibility of prosecution in a sexual assault case in Sweden. He was ousted earlier this year and has since been serving a 50-week jail sentence in the UK’s Belmarsh prison for skipping bail. (UNI)