U.S. Officially Submits Extradition Request for WikiLeaks Founder Assange on 18 Charges, Including Violating Espionage Act

  • A U.S. official announced that the U.S. government “has formally submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange” on Tuesday.
  • The U.S. government indicted Assange on 18 charges, including “soliciting and publishing classified information and of conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to crack a Defense Department computer password.”
  • A U.K. official said: “Mr. Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America. He is accused of offenses including computer misuse and the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information.”
  • Assange is accused of violating the Espionage Act. According to some legal experts, “the additional Espionage Act charges might slow or complicate the extradition process to the extent the United Kingdom views them as political offenses and therefore exempt from extradition.”
  • Since the U.S. first charged Assange with criminal acts, an extradition request has been expected to send Assange from the U.K. to the U.S.
  • After being kicked out of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy in April after 7 years of seeking refuge, Assange was arrested and taken into custody by U.K. authorities. He is now serving a 50-week sentence on charges related to jumping bail.
  • Manning was initially given a 35-year sentence for her role in leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks. However, then-President Obama commuted her sentence after she served 7 years.
  • Manning is now jailed for “refusing to testify before a Virginia-based federal grand jury which is continuing to investigate WikiLeaks.”
  • Assange is facing charges for an alleged sexual assault in Sweden and has been fighting extradition due to his claims of poor health.

Reference Links

  • AP: US submits extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Assange READ
  • The Guardian: Julian Assange: US charges expected to be revealed at hearing READ
  • Washington Examiner: US makes formal extradition request to Britain for Julian Assange of WikiLeaks READ
  • Reuters: U.S. formally asks UK to extradite WikiLeaks’ Assange READ

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