- Julian Assange is facing 17 new charges from the US Justice Department
- These include a violation of the US espionage act
- Assange faces decades in prison if convicted
Things are not looking too good for Julian Assange just one month after he was arrested following his removal from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. It has been reported on May 24, 2019, that he is now facing 17 charges from the US Justice Department even as he faces extradition from the United Kingdom. This is after he spent seven years under Asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy before being removed.
His new charges include receiving and unlawfully publishing the names of classified sources and thereby endangering their lives.
The History of Assange’s Legal Problems
Prior to the 17 charges, he was charged last month with a count of conspiring with ex-intelligence to gain access to the Pentagon network. The ex-intelligence in question was Chelsea Manning, an analyst.
As of now, he is serving a jail sentence in the UK for jumping bail while facing sexual assault allegations in Sweden. At the time, he sought and received seven years of asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 and has denied the allegations against him.
Following the seven years of asylum at the embassy, he was arrested on April 11, 2019, after Ecuador withdrew his asylum and he is now serving a 50-week term for skipping bail.
The charges he’s been accused of include violating the US espionage act by publishing classified military and diplomatic documents back in 2010 and for repeatedly encouraging sources with access to classified information to steal and provide them to WikiLeaks to publish. At the time, Chelsea Manning and been supplying him with such material and he encouraged her to continue to steal and crack a password hash in a military computer to continue supplying information.
If convicted of these charges, Assange Is looking at decades in prison as some of the charges carry five to ten years in prison each.
Since the announcement of these charges, Wikileaks, the site that who founded, has spoken out against what they call a violation of his rights.
“This is madness. It is the end of national security journalism and the first amendment,” they tweeted.
Some have pointed out that typically when classified information is leaked, the government tends to go after those who stole information and not the parties that leak them to the public. Assistant attorney general John Demers has stated that the justice department takes the role of journalist seriously but that Assange is not a journalist.
“Indeed, no responsible act of journalism would purposely publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential sources in war zones, exposing them to the gravest of dangers,” he added.