US issues new indictment against Julian Assange, adding to conspiring with former soldier Chelsea Manning


(Video from April 2019)

Washington (dpa) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing a new indictment from the United States, the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday.

Australian citizen Assange, 48, had already been charged by the US with conspiring with former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

The superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury does not add additional counts to the existing 18 against Assange, but broadens the scope of previous charges of conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions, the DoJ said in its statement.

The charging document alleges that Assange and his WikiLeaks colleagues recruited hackers, and that Assange spoke at hacking conferences in a bid to encourage others to obtain information for WikiLeaks.

It also accuses Assange of conspiring with Manning to crack a password hash to classified US Department of Defense computer.

Assange’s lawyers have argued that the US charges are politically motivated.

Assange is being held on remand at a London prison. The US has requested his extradition. A London court has delayed a three-week extradition hearing until September at the earliest.

British police arrested Assange in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had taken refuge for seven years, for failing to surrender to an earlier warrant linked to Swedish charges that were eventually dropped.

The police swooped after Quito revoked Assange’s asylum status to end his seven-year refuge in the embassy.

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