by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post:
WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange has been charged under The Espionage Act on 17 new counts in a superseding indictment for his role in obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic documents prior to his extradition hearing on May 30th, Reuters reported.
WIKILEAKS RESPONDS TO ESPIONAGE ACT INDICTMENT AGAINST ASSANGE: UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK ON FREE PRESS pic.twitter.com/F0iUyr0R7F
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 24 May 2019
The charges carry a shocking sentence of 175 years in prison if found guilty by the secret Espionage court — a horrendous statement to send to journalists and truth tellers.
“The Department of Justice wants to imprison Assange for crimes allegedly committed outside of the United States. This extraterritorial application of US law is explicit throughout the indictment… thereby classifying any territory in the world as subject to US law,” WikiLeaks wrote in a statement, adding,
In response to the unprecedented espionage charges filed against Julian Assange today, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson declared:
This is the evil of lawlessness in its purest form. With the indictment, the ‘leader of the free world’ dismisses the First Amendment — hailed as a model of press freedom around the world — and launches a blatant extraterritorial assault outside its borders, attacking basic principles of democracy in Europe and the rest of the world.
WikiLeaks went on to write that the indictment carries “serious implications for WikiLeaks publishing partners, numbering over one hundred across the globe, including The New York Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, who collaborated on the publications and may now face co-dependent charges.”
WikiLeaks concluded: “The final decision on Assange’s extradition rests with the UK Home Secretary, who is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the UK and elsewhere. Press rights advocates have unanimously argued that Assange’s prosecution under the Espionage Act is incompatible with basic democratic principles. This is the gravest attack on press freedoms of the century.”
A little over a month ago, Julian Assange was charged under the CFAA for helping crack a password without a single key stroke in an external computer, a charge that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted was weak, not fresh and has been known for nearly a decade as the Obama DOJ refused to charge him because it “endangered journalism,” Activist Post previously reported.