Wikileaks founder Julian Assange refuses extradition to US, long legal fight expected

A defiant Julian Assange told a London court Thursday he will fight extradition to the United States to face charges of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer, arguing that his work as WikiLeaks founder has benefited the public.

Speaking by video link from Belmarsh Prison in southeast London, Assange said, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.”

His formal refusal to be extradited marks the start of what is expected to be a bruising legal battle over whether he will be brought to trial in the United States.

Assange, wearing jeans and a sports jacket, appeared calm during the brief hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Some of his supporters who couldn’t