US submits extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Tuesday - 11/06/2019 12:09
The United States will detail all the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when it seeks his extradition in a London court.
The United States government has formally submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a US official.
“The American authorities, the Department of Justice, will present the evidence in support of their extradition demand,” WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters. The “first real confrontation of arguments” in court will not be for several weeks or months, Hrafnsson said.
Assange faces an 18-count indictment that accuses him of soliciting and publishing classified information and of conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to crack a Defence Department computer password.
The 47-year-old Assange was evicted on April 11 from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had been holed up since 2012 after Ecuador granted him political asylum.
He was arrested by British police and is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.
Sweden also seeks him for questioning about an alleged rape, which Assange has denied.
The US official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorised to speak publicly.
Mr Hrafnsson said the charges were “very revealing about the nature of this entire case”.
He said the Espionage Act was part of an “archaic legal framework … and has never been used against a publisher and a journalist”.
“It’s an indication of the watershed moment that we are now seeing in the attack on journalism,” he said.
Detained at London’s Belmarsh high-security prison, Assange has been transferred to a medical unit due to concerns about his health.
He received a visit on Tuesday from his father, John Shipton, and the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, Britain’s Press Association.