AS the US Government was revealed to be bringing new charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The National has learned that the Scottish former diplomat turned journalist and blogger Craig Murray is set to testify in the ongoing case in Spain.

Murray confirmed he is prepared to go to Madrid where Spain’s National Court heard testimony yesterday in an investigation into whether a Spanish company was hired to spy on Assange, 48, during the seven years he spent in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Murray said: “I received a message from the lawyer in the case in Madrid about the spying on Assange in the Embassy, contracted by the CIA, which said that I was the ‘top target’ for the contractors and the evidence shows they were ‘obsessed with’ me. I shall be going to Madrid to give evidence.”

In Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London yesterday, Assange’s lawyers accused the US authorities of politicising the case against their client, who made his first public appearance since February. He has been held at Belmarsh Prison where he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Assange’s defence team said they had been “kept in the dark” over a new indictment drawn up by US authorities. The indictment, published by the US Department of Justice last month, includes fresh allegations which US prosecutors said show how Assange sought to obtain and release classified information.

Assange still faces 17 charges under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

US prosecutors now allege Assange sought to recruit hackers at conferences and conspired with the leader of hacking group LulzSec, asking to be provided with documents and databases.

The details of the new indictment have yet to be served as part of his extradition hearing, and prosecutor Joel Smith told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he was unable to “commit to any timetable” for its presentation. The main hearing will still go ahead in September, the court decided.

Outside the court, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said: “The ‘new’ superseding indictment actually contains nothing new. All the alleged events have been known to the prosecution for years. It contains no new charges.

“What’s really happening here is that despite its decade-long head-start, the prosecution is still unable to build a coherent and credible case. So they’ve scrapped their previous two indictments and gone for a third try.”

US Department of Justice authorities have said: “The new indictment does not add additional counts to the prior 18-count superseding indictment returned against Assange in May 2019. It does, however, broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged.”