Delegates boycott Glasgow conference after WikiLeaks founder Assange 'appears'

Fugitive and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange caused senior judges to drop out of a legal conference at the SECC in Glasgow on Wednesday (15 April) when he joined a panel debate via video-link.

WikiLeaks founder Assange appears at Glasgow conference
WikiLeaks founder Assange appears at Glasgow conference

Assange has been hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, fighting extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

He spoke at a panel session on surveillance and security at the Commonwealth Law Conference via video-link yesterday, alongside chair Jennifer Robinson, a human rights lawyer, and Adriana Edmeades who works for Privacy International.

A number of senior judges boycotted the event in protest at Assange appearing on the panel. These included the most senior judge in Scotland, Lord Gill, and two judges on the supreme court, Lord Neuberger and Lord Hodge.

A spokesperson for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: "The conference programme was changed to include Mr Assange’s participation at short notice and without consultation. Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice, and it would therefore not be appropriate for judges to be addressed by him.

"Under these circumstances, the Lord president, Lord Gill, and the other Scottish judicial officeholders in attendance have withdrawn from the conference."

The biennial conference had been brought to Glasgow as part of a partnership between the Law Society of Scotland, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).

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