Julian Assange could face up to 175 years in prison after a federal grand jury announced 17 additional charges under the Espionage Act. The Wikileaks founder is currently in the UK awaiting an extradition hearing. Assange spent almost seven years in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he sought refuge, believing correctly that allegations of sexual assault in Sweden would be used as a pretext for Assange to be arrested and extradited to the United States.
The superseding indictment relates to US documents that WikiLeaks published in 2010, and alleges Assange had revealed the names of people who were working with the United States government. The Department of Justice has said in a statement that Assange was complicit with Chelsea Manning in unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to national defense.
Assange is currently in the Belmarsh crown prison outside of London, serving a 50-month prison sentence for violating bail by seeking asylum in Ecuador and awaiting a hearing on the US extradition request. It has literally been proven now that his fears of being extradited to the United States were correct and that seeking asylum at the Ecuador embassy was indeed the right move.
Many are calling on US president Donald Trump who said several times during his campaign that he loved Wikileaks to pardon Julian Assange. However, Trump’s enthusiasm for Wikileaks has cooled somewhat since becoming president and has said that he knows nothing of Wikileaks. I guess time will tell if he has the strength of conviction to stop this.