WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange arrested and charged in US with computer hacking conspiracy

Pierluigi Paganini April 11, 2019

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. after Ecuador withdrew asylum after seven years.

Seven years ago, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case.

In 2012 a British judge ruled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there, but Assange received political asylum from Ecuador and spent the last years in its London embassy.

In October, the Government of Ecuador confirmed it had cut the internet access of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange due to leaks of its Organization. The Ecuadorian Government believes that the information leaked by Wikileaks could have had a serious impact on the US Presidential election.

News of the day is that Julian Assange was arrested in London on a US warrant charging him over his alleged role in a massive leak of military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

Julian Assange arrest
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London – Source the Time of Israel

According to a note released by London’s Metropolitan Police Service, the arrest has happened just after the Ecuadorian government today withdraws the political asylum. Below the Tweet published by Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno:

Wikileaks condemned the arrest and defined it as an illegal act that violated international law:

The man has been taken into custody at a central London police station, and it is expected to be presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.

“He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.” reads the note.

“The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.”

The U.S. Department of Justice also published a press release that confirmed the arrest. Assange would face extradition proceedings for his alleged role in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”

“The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.” states the US DoJ. “Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks “

Assange faces up to five years in jail on a federal charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer”.

Last year, U.S. prosecutors accidentally revealed the existence of criminal charges against Julian Assange in a document filed in an unrelated sex crime case.

Assange has been forced to live in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy since June 2012, when a U.K. court ordered his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault and rape charges filed against him.

According to Assange’s US lawyer Barry Pollack the arrest constitutes “an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Wikileaks, Julian Assange)

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