London [UK], Jun 14 (ANI): Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday gathered outside the Magistrates' Court in London ahead of his hearing on the possible extradition to the United States.
The 47-year-old is facing charges by the US Justice Department of violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a classified government document. If the charges are proven, Assange could be imprisoned for upto 175 years in the US, reports Sputnik.
The hearing has come a day after Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an extradition request sent by the US Justice Department.
"Mr Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America. He is accused of offences including computer misuse and the unauthorised disclosure of national defence information," Javid had said after signing the extradition request.
The US prosecutors initially charged Assange with a single count of computer intrusion, but last month added 17 new counts, including controversial charges under the Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving and publishing national defence information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Assange is currently serving 50 weeks imprisonment sentence in UK's Belmarsh prison for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden over sexual assault allegations. The Australian whistleblower has denied the allegations against him, asserting that they were politically motivated. (ANI)