The US Justice Department has filed 17 new charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is stated in the statement of the department. In total, he could face up to 175 years in prison instead of 5, as before.
“If found guilty, he faces a maximum punishment of ten years in prison on each item, with the exception of a conspiracy to commit a computer hack (a charge brought against him earlier - RT ), for which he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison ", - says the site department.
It is noted that the materials published by WikiLeaks could be used to the detriment of the United States and in the interests of foreign countries. So, as arguments, the Justice Ministry points out that local documents in Iraq and Afghanistan, which after the publication were allegedly under threat, were mentioned in the published documents.
Recall Assange became widely known after in 2010 on the site WkikiLeaks were published materials about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They contained data on the war crimes of the United States Army.
The story of the persecution
After publishing the materials, the United States launched an investigation into allegedly violating the Spying Act. In the framework of the same case, Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst for the United States Army, was sentenced to 35 years in prison - he later transferred to WikiLeaks the published data. In 2017 he was pardoned.
In addition, an arrest warrant was issued against Assange in Sweden in the case of sexual harassment and rape. Since 2012, he has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK, since a British court decided to send Assange to Sweden.
Seven years later, Ecuador decided to expose Assange - on April 11, he was detained by British law enforcement agencies. The President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, is convinced that the journalist allegedly tried to interfere in the affairs of other states while he was at the country's embassy in London.
“Unfortunately, from our territory and with the permission of the authorities of the previous government in the Ecuadorian diplomatic mission in the British capital, opportunities were provided for interfering in the processes of other states,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
At the same time, from March 2018, Assange did not even have access to the Internet.
A British court decided to keep the journalist under arrest until June 12. During this period, the United States must provide documents for extradition. May 30 will begin the hearing on the extradition of Assange to the United States.
“You didn’t surrender to the police at your own request, the Ecuadorian embassy was forced to give police access to the building ... You had a choice, and I reject all the arguments on the mitigation of punishment,” said judge Deborah Taylor.
"Anything can happen"
The investigation against Assange was resumed in Sweden. It concerns the same case of crimes of a sexual nature, which was closed in 2017.
“There are serious reasons to suspect Assange of guilt. The decision to close the investigation was made on the basis that it was impossible to ensure the presence of Assange in court, and was not based on the circumstances of the case, ”said Deputy District District Attorney Eva-Maria Persson.
Despite the fact that earlier representatives of Assange noted the focus of this investigation on the destruction of the reputation of a journalist, the chief editor of WikiLeaks website, Christinn Hrafnsson, is convinced that this case will help “clear the name” of the founder of the portal.
“Julian Assange was always ready to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and for six years he repeatedly offered to do it. The widespread statement in the media that Assange “evaded” from interrogations on the Swedish side is false. This investigation has previously been terminated, and its resumption will allow Julian to clear his name, ”said Hrafnsson’s statement.
Speaking on RT, he noted that the case was "extremely politicized," and expressed concern that Stockholm would hand over Assange to Washington.
“Let's not forget that Sweden has a“ bad history ”of relations with the US authorities when it comes to the extradition of people. Many refugees were extradited to the CIA by Stockholm. Anything can happen, ”said Hrafnsson.