Justice Department Presses UK to Extradite WikiLeaks Founder to US


The US Justice Department has filed an official request to United Kingdom authorities to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, American media reports. A Swedish court recently ruled that Mr. Assange should not be extradited for the sexual-assault case, but investigators still want to question him in London.

After Assange's arrest by London police, USA prosecutors unsealed a year-old indictment charging Assange with a single count of computer intrusion in connection with the publication of the secret documents.

"Mr Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America". However, the U.S. introduced 17 more indictments under the WWI-era Espionage Act over "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense".

The extradition request had been expected ever since United States authorities first announced a criminal case against Mr Assange.

Mr Assange will face charges that he conspired to hack government computers and violated an espionage law. The previous indictment alleged that Assange conspired with former USA soldier Chelsea Manning to hack into a US government computer system.

The US is seeking to extradite Assange for alleged computer hacking.

On April 11, police forcibly removed the WikiLeaks founder from the Ecuadorean Embassy near Harrods department store in central London.

The US official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorised to speak publicly.

Manning, who spent seven years in a military prison for delivering a trove of classified information to Assange before having her sentence commuted by then-President Barack Obama, has been jailed for civil contempt in Virginia after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

"The American authorities, the Department of Justice, will present the evidence in support of their extradition demand", Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters.

Mr. Assange is serving a 50-week jail sentence in Britain for skipping bail in 2012 when he faced extradition to Sweden in a case involving allegations of sexual assault.

Mr Hrafnsson (pictured) said the raids by the Australian Federal Police last week were a systematic attack on investigative journalists reporting on national security.

The US has accused Mr Assange of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010. I doubt it, ' Mr Hrafnsson said.

Ruptly is live outside HMP Belmarsh prison in London as Chinese human rights activist and artist Ai Weiwei visits WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday, June 11.

"The Department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy and we thank you for it", U.S. Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers previously said when the Justice Department announced charged against the WikiLeaks publisher.