WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange facing more charges from US prosecutors

Sunday, 26 May, 2019

He was then jailed for 50 weeks for a bail breach and is fighting against extradition to the US.

Until April this year, Assange had been living at Ecuador's embassy in London after the South American nation granted him asylum in June 2012.

Once his sentence is concluded, Assange is expected to be extradited to the United States.

This was done under an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act.

They described how Assange worked with Manning to improperly access Department of Defense computers to gain access to thousands of pages of material and encouraged her as she delved through databases for information.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said in a tweet: "I find no satisfaction in saying "I told you so" to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come".

KitGuru Says: The Julian Assange case was always going to get ugly.

The Justice Department on Thursday charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a journalist.

The documents published by Assange were originally obtained by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and include videos of usa soldiers shooting 19 Iraqis from a helicopter and a quarter-million diplomatic cables. He added that Assange had engaged in "explicit solicitation of classified information".

It said that at the time Manning was deployed to forward operating base Hammer in Iraq.

"It's very, very risky", said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a media lawyer who represented CNN's Jim Acosta when he was barred from the White House for two weeks last November, among other high-profile cases. Under extradition rules, the USA had only a 60-day window from the date of Assange's arrest in London to add more charges. The Justice Department has charged Assange with receiving and publishing classified information. The new indictment comes before the U.S. has formally filed for Assange's extradition-which the USA must do by June 11.

The US extradition request was unveiled within hours of Assange's arrest inside the Ecuadorean embassy.

The indictment also contains the original charge, that Assange agreed to crack a password hash stored on US Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet).

He's now in custody in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April.

Those charges were dropped in 2015.

In the wake of Assange's arrest, prosecutors in Sweden re-opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Assange sexually assaulted a woman during a visit to Sweden.

In the meantime, British authorities will have to decide whether to prioritise the U.S. or Swedish claims first. It is urgent that the fight for the freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning be extended and connected to the growing struggles of workers throughout the world against inequality, war, authoritarianism and the capitalist system.

She spent two months in the Alexandria Detention Centre beginning in March after she refused to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Although the indictment points to examples where Assange's publication of classified records exposed and might have endangered people named in them, the charges do not hinge on this detail.