WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared to struggle to say his own name as he faced court to fight extradition to the US.
Assange, 48, is accused of leaking the country’s government secrets in one of the largest ever compromises of confidential information.
Clean shaven and with his white hair combed back, he appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday wearing a dark blue suit over a pale blue sweater and white shirt.
He mumbled, paused and stuttered as he gave his name and date of birth at the start of a case management hearing.
Protesters gather outside
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and journalist and documentary maker John Pilger were among Assange’s supporters in a packed public gallery, while dozens of protesters gathered outside court.
Assange’s barrister Mark Summers QC said there is a “direct link” between the “reinvigoration” of the investigation, which was concluded during Barack Obama’s presidency, and the Donald Trump administration.
“Our case will be that this is a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is legally unprecedented,” he said.
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