The US Government is once again going after Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
The founder of WikiLeaks and the resident at a London jail cell on Thursday was charged by the US Government under their 102 years old Espionage Act. He was charged under this act for 18 different counts and if he is found guilty on those counts, he will be given a 107 prison sentence.
According to the Washington Post, the federal prosecutors have charged the publisher for encouraging sources to steal the sensitive and classified information.
The indictment published by the New York Times reads as follows,
“Assange, WikiLeaks affiliates and Manning shared the common objective to subvert lawful restrictions on classified information and to publicly disseminate it.”
According to this indictment, Assange has been charged with the conspiracy to following main charges.
- receiving the national defense information
- obtaining the national defense information
- disclosure of the national defense information
- conspiracy to committing computer intrusion
As for Legal Scholars, they have raised their concern that the US Government going after a publisher of classified documents is the way which poses a threat to all journalists under First Amendment.
Following the arrest of Assange, Ben Wizner of ACLU said in his statement back in April as follows,
“Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”
According to media sources, US government has asked the British authorities for Assange’s extradition. Never before this has US government ever charged a journalist for the violation of Espionage Act.
It seems like many other things under Trump’s administration, this too has changed.