LONDON (AP) — A British judge was given two conflicting portraits of Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder’s long-awaited extradition hearing began Monday in a London court.
U.S. authorities want to try Assange on espionage charges.
A lawyer for the Americans said the Australian computer expert was an “ordinary” criminal whose publication of hundreds of thousands of secret military documents put many people at risk of torture and death.
They say he conspired with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange’s lawyer countered that the WikiLeaks publisher was being victimized by a “lawless” American government that wanted to make an example of him.
The judge isn’t expected to rule until several months after that, with the losing side likely to appeal.