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Assange extradition hearing kicks off in London

Lawyers for both sides present opening arguments amid conspiracy theories suggesting the U.S. government is using Swedish authorities to bring Assange into its jurisdiction.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange Screenshot from "60 Minutes" interview

A two-day hearing has begun in London to determine whether WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden for questioning on sex-crime allegations.

On Monday, Assange appeared at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in Woolwich before district judge Howard Riddle. Lawyers for both sides presented their opening arguments in the extradition hearing, which has attracted conspiracy theories suggesting the US government is working through the Swedish authorities to bring Assange into its jurisdiction.

Defense barrister Geoffrey Robertson told the court that Assange would face a closed hearing in Sweden if extradited, as is customary in rape trials there.

"The Swedish custom and practice is blatantly unfair by European standards. [One] cannot have a fair trial when the press and public are excluded from the court," Robertson said.

Read more of "Assange trial kicks off in London" at ZDNet UK.