WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Due in Court to Fight Extradition

A supporter of Julian Assange and Wiki Leaks holds a placard during a snap rally in Sydney

A supporter of Julian Assange and Wiki Leaks holds a placard during a snap rally in Sydney

A judge in London has rejected Julian Assange's attempt to delay his United States extradition case.

WikiLeaks said at the time: "During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight".

A court artist sketch showing Julian Assange facing District Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, on Monday.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's legal team is seeking to delay his full extradition hearing which is now set for five days in February.

Assange hadn't been seen in public for several months and his supporters had raised concerns about his well-being.

Assange wore a blue sweater and a blue sports jacket for the hearing and wore his silvery-grey hair slicked back.

After the judge turned down his bid for a three-month delay, Assange said in halting tones he didn't understand the events in court.

Lawyer Mark Summers, representing Assange, says more time is needed to prepare Assange's defence against "unprecedented" use of espionage charges against a journalist.

"They have all the advantages", the 48-year-old Mr. Assange said.

His lawyer, Mark Summers, accused the United States of "intruding" on conversations between Assange and his lawyers while he was holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London.

The Department of Justice charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 18-count superseding indictment; Catherine Herridge reports. Summers said the case has many facets and will require a "mammoth" amount of planning and preparation.

"We need more time", Mr Summers said, adding that Assange would mount a political defence that will be laborious to prepare.

The small courtroom was also packed with his backers, including journalist John Pilger and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

Supporters demonstrated outside the court and called for Assange to be freed.

A Ruptly videographer managed to capture exclusive footage of a clean-shaven Julian Assange being transported through the streets of London following his court hearing on Monday. She said this would be easier for Assange to attend and contains more room for the media. They are expected to ask for more time at a later date.

Assange was jailed for 50 weeks in May for breaching his bail conditions after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations - which he has denied.

Summers did not provide evidence of these claims, which likely would be part of Assange's defense against extradition when the full hearing is held next year.

In a statement before the hearing, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International's deputy director for Europe, said: "The British authorities must acknowledge the real risks of serious human rights violations Julian Assange would face if sent to the U.S. and reject the extradition request".