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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged under seal by US prosecutors

Assange, 47, has been under investigation ever since WikiLeaks published thousands of classified government documents, including diplomatic cables and military documents

Bloomberg  |  London 

Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks speaks via video link during a press conference on the occasion of the ten year anniversary celebration of WikiLeaks in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Reuters
Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks. Photo: Reuters

founder has been charged by federal prosecutors in Virginia in a move that suggests the US government is determined to pursue his extradition, according to an inadvertent filing in an unrelated court case.

It’s unclear what Assange, who’s been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been charged with. The charges were revealed in an August filing unsealed this month. The document begins with arguments related to the correct case, then picks up abruptly on the second page, saying “no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

Assistant US Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer continued on a third page, saying the matter “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”

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Assange, 47, has been under investigation ever since published thousands of classified government documents, including diplomatic cables and military documents, starting in 2010. He’s also come under scrutiny by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller amid probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In 2016, published emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been hacked by Russian intelligence.

“WikiLeaks has never been contacted by anyone from his office,” the organization said in a statement on Twitter, referring to the special counsel.

First Published: Sat, November 17 2018. 01:55 IST
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