Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the group published top-secret files from various governments, has been arrested. The 47-year-old Assange was detained Thursday (April 11) in London on hacking charges and after his arrest, the United States is seeking extradition.
NBC News reports:
Assange, the publisher of state secrets that embarrassed governments around the world, was wanted in Britain for skipping bail in 2012, when he was under investigation in Sweden on charges of sexual assault and rape. He spent almost seven years living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to the U.S.
Assange is charged with one count of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer,” according to the indictment released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors say the password was being sought by Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence officer who provided Assange with a trove of secret government documents that WikiLeaks published in 2010 — “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States,” according to the indictment.
Assange, 47, has said that the United States is trying to infringe on his journalistic freedoms. The indictment accused him of going beyond the role of a traditional journalist when he helped Manning crack the password that gave her access to hundreds of thousands of classified files.
The outlet adds that Assange pleaded not guilty to the current charges but was convicted of failing to surrender to authorities back in 2012. He faces two upcoming extradition hearings next month.
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