LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England.  Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks website that published US Government secrets, has been wanted in Sweden on charges of rape since 2012.  He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and today police have said he will still face arrest if he leaves.  (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Exclusive: Assange turned embassy into command post in 2016
09:14 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will go ahead in February 2020 after a judge denied a request by his lawyers to delay proceedings by three months.

Assange appeared in person at Westminster Magistrates court on Monday for a case management hearing on his extradition to the United States.

The Australian is battling multiple charges, including 17 new counts under the Espionage Act in May this year, for unlawfully encouraging, receiving and publishing national defense information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied Assange’s legal team request to delay proceedings and timetable by three months, confirming that the full extradition hearing will still go ahead in late February.

Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange demonstrate oustside Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

Defense lawyer Mark Summers had argued that his team needed more time to gather and provide all the evidence needed.

Assange struggled to give his name and date of birth at the beginning of the hearing, making long pauses and mumbling some words.

When the case was adjourned and judge Baraitser asked the WikiLeaks founder if he understood what was happening, Assange replied: “What is happening? Not really.”

The Wikileaks founder complained to the judge that he doesn’t have access to any of his writings or legal documents at Belmarsh prison.

“I can’t think properly” he said.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told journalists outside the court they were disappointed with the judge’s refusal to delay the timetable for the case. Hrafnsson reiterated that Assange’s extradition request to the United States is politically motivated.

“This is a political offence, it’s undeniable a political prosecution and Julian Assange is a political prisoner” he told CNN.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the court early Monday morning in support for Assange.