Wednesday, 12 June 2019 07:30

US formally requests Assange be extradited to face charges

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US formally requests Assange be extradited to face charges Courtesy YouTube

The US Department of Justice has made a formal request to the UK to extradite WikiLeaks publisher and founder Julian Assange to face charges of conspiring to break into US Government computers and violation of an espionage law after he serves a jail term in Britain.

An official from the UK Home Office said London had now received the full request for extradition of the Australian.

The Washington Post reported that the US prosecutors had sent the request last Thursday before a legal deadline expired.

Assange is set to face a hearing in London over the extradition on 14 June.

Assange was arrested by British police on 11 April and removed from the Ecuador embassy in London where he was taking refuge after the South American nation offered him asylum. This was withdrawn in April and Assange appeared in court shortly thereafter.

He was later sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail at the time he fled into the Ecuador embassy; at that time, he was wanted in Sweden for questioning on rape allegations made against him by two women. Sweden subsequently reopened the rape probe and sought his extradition; it had dropped the charge and cancelled the warrant in May 2017.

But a Swedish judge shot down the chances of his being extradited to that country, rejecting a request in early June to issue an arrest order.

Soon after his arrest in London, the US sought his extradition to face charges of computer hacking and being involved in a compromise of classified information, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Washington revealed its hand on 24 May when it hit Assange with 17 new charges under the US Espionage Act over his alleged role in leaking documents from former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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