Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Julian Assange charged in US

Julian Assange charged in US

The disclosure came in an unrelated case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged".

It is not clear what charges Mr Assange faces, because they were not disclosed.

The document, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

"That was not the intended name for this filing", he said. The sex offence charges against Assange have eventually been dropped but the whistleblower has not left the diplomatic mission, where he was granted asylum, over fears that he might be seized by the UK authorities and extradited to the United States where he is wanted for leaking classified documents. Dwyer later wrote that the charges would "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested".

WikiLeaks found itself at the center of the probe after publishing internal emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta ahead of the election. Chelsea Manning. In a Twitter post early Friday, WikiLeaks said the "US case against WikiLeaks started in 2010" and expanded to include other disclosures, including by contractor Edward Snowden. Officials have alleged the emails were hacked by Russian spies and transferred to WikiLeaks. But whether to charge the WikiLeaks founder was hardly a foregone conclusion.

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One of Mr Assange's lawyers told the Guardian newspaper that charging someone for publishing accurate information was a "dangerous path for a democracy to take".

U.S. media reports say United States officials are increasingly confident that Mr Assange will be detained and face charges in the US. "Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly risky precedent to set". It was filed in the case of a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi.

The Washington Post reported late Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Assange had indeed been charged.

The 47-year-old Assange has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, where he took refuge over fears of being extradited to the USA over the 2010 WikiLeaks cable dump.

But British police have said they still intend to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy because he broke his conditions for bail by taking refuge there.

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