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Julian Assange violated Espionage Act, he is not a journalist: US

The charges against Assange, now 18 in total, reject his claim that he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material from Manning, an action that is protected under the US Constitution.

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

Julian Assange
Julian Assange | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The on Thursday charged founder with violating the US in the publishing of military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a

The department unveiled 17 new charges against Assange, accusing him of aiding and abetting with stealing secret US files and also recklessly exposing and endangering confidential sources in the and who were named in the files.

The charges against Assange, now 18 in total, reject his claim that he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material from Manning, an action that is protected under the US Constitution's First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press.

A new indictment alleges that Assange conspired with Manning to steal the hundreds of thousands of classified files "with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the of the or the advantage of a foreign nation," the said.

It also said that Assange rejected the US State Department's warning in 2010 to redact the names of its and the US military's confidential sources in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and China, sources it said included journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents.

"Assange's actions risked serious harm to national security to the benefit of our adversaries and put the unredacted named human sources at a grave and imminent risk of serious physical harm and/or arbitrary detention," the department said.

"The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy," said "But is no " "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 said.

Assange is in prison in Britain for jumping bail and faces a US extradition request when he is released 11 months from now.

blasted the new charges, saying it threatened reporters broadly.

"This is madness. It is the end of national security journalism and the first amendment," the group tweeted.

First Published: Fri, May 24 2019. 03:20 IST
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