To the editor: It is bad enough that the Trump administration is seeking to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Great Britain to face up to 175 years in prison for allegedly violating the infamous Espionage Act of 1917 for publishing information that exposed U.S. violations of international law in Iraq and elsewhere, just like the New York Times and Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers.
But now the extradition judge in London has refused to allow Assange to sit with his lawyers at counsel table to assist in his own defense. Instead, he remains in the dock in the rear of the courtroom behind thick glass with poor acoustics, under medication to deal with the consequences of prolonged confinement, visibly struggling to understand what is going on.
This heaps serious due process and human rights violations on top of the dangerous threat to freedom of the press posed by the entire unwarranted prosecution.
U.S. and British authorities should be ashamed of themselves. Assange should be released immediately.
Stephen F. Rohde, Los Angeles
The writer is a constitutional lawyer.