The United States Department of Justice has disclosed allegations with 17 new cases against “WikiLeaks” founder Julian Assange over alleged violations of the Espionage Act by publishing classified information through the “WikiLeaks” website.
If convicted for all cases, Assange could have a maximum sentence of 175 years in American prison for his “alleged role in one of the largest agreements of classified information in the history of the United States.”
Last month in London, Assange was arrested after Ecuador immediately withdrew his asylum and later sentenced to 50 weeks in U.K. prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012.
The 47-year-old is currently facing extradition to the United States for his role in the publication of thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents on WikiLeaks in 2010, which embarrassed U.S. governments around the world.
However, the previous indictment accuses Assange, with only one count of helping former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning crack the password, in the latest 18-count indictment of him receiving U.S. military and diplomatic documents more than a dozen times and unlawfully Was accused of publishing, which is a violation. The old Espanyes Act of 1917.
Until now, the DoJ has only prosecuted and charged government officials who leak classified information to the media or public, but this is the first time when the 102-year-old, First World War-era Espionage Act has been used against a journalist.
The Espionage Act forbids the disclosure of national defense information that could be used against the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.
The Justice Department says, “Assange then published classified documents on WikiLeaks, including the unintended names of human sources, who had briefed the United States forces and U.S. State Department diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“These humanitarian sources included the local Iraqi and the Afghan and the, journalists, religious leaders, advocates of human rights and political dissident from the repressive regime.”
The indictment also says that Assange “To provide WikiLeaks to steal and provide it, sources with access to classified information were repeatedly encouraged.”
DoJ says, “Assange’s actions seriously harmed the national security of the United States for the benefit of our adversaries and caused serious bodily harm to and/or uncontrolled the human source name and arbitrarily detained.”
In response to the latest indictment, WikiLeaks on Twitter called the prosecution a “Madness and “The end of national security journalism and the First Amendment” “Posted a statement saying, which guarantees free speech.