WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made a brief court appearance Monday in his bid to prevent\u00a0extradition to the United States\u00a0to face serious espionage charges.\r\nHe and his lawyers complained they weren\u2019t being given enough time to meet to plan their battle against US prosecutors seeking to put him on trial for WikiLeaks\u2019 publication of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents.\r\nThe 48-year-old was brought to court from Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London. He saluted the public gallery, which was packed with ardent supporters including the musician MIA, when he entered the courtroom. He later raised his right fist in defiance when he was taken to holding cells to meet with lawyer Gareth Peirce.\r\nPeirce said officials at Belmarsh Prison are making it extremely difficult for her to meet with Assange.\r\n\u201cWe have pushed Belmarsh in every way -- it is a breach of a defendant\u2019s rights,\u201d she said.\r\nAssange refrained from making political statements. He confirmed his name and date of birth, and at one point said he didn\u2019t understand all of the proceedings against him during the brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates\u2019 Court.\r\nHe faces 18 charges in the US, including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. He has denied wrongdoing, claiming he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.\r\nMany advocacy groups have supported Assange\u2019s claim that the charges would have a chilling effect on freedom of the press.\r\nA five-day extradition hearing is scheduled for late February. Assange\u2019s legal team has tried to delay the hearing so there is more time to prepare, but these requests have been denied.\r\nAssange has already served a 50-week prison sentence in Britain for jumping bail. A rape investigation launched against him in Sweden has been dropped, so he would likely be freed from prison if extradition is denied.