Back in April, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was pulled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrested by British police. Since 2012, the UK has had a warrant for Assange’s arrest due to breaking bail conditions. At this point, Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in Jail but he is also facing trouble in other parts of the world, including the US, which has now charged him with violating the Espionage Act.
Not only has Sweden re-opened its investigation into Assange over sexual assault allegations, but the US government is knocking on the door too, seeking an extradition agreement. This week, Julian Assange was indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. The crimes revolve around the obtaining and publishing of secret US government and military documents back in 2010.
Right now, Assange also faces hacking related crimes in the US too. There is a hearing going on that will decide whether or not the US will be able to extradite him from the UK to face charges there.
At the moment, none of the US charges against Assange pertain to the 2016 presidential election, or Hillary Clinton’s email leaks, which were also published on WikiLeaks. Instead, everything on the table right now relates back to Chelsea Manning, who leaked confidential documents to Assange nine years ago.
Of course, the concern right now is that by charging Assange under the Espionage Act, Freedom of the Press and First Amendment rights could be harmed, setting a worrying precedent for the future.
KitGuru Says: The Julian Assange case was always going to get ugly. After all, the UK arrest was just the beginning, the US government has been waiting to obtain extradition for almost a decade now.