The United States is rumored to have prepared their charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who had shocked the world by releasing thousands of classified files back in 2010. The rumor started after a court filing by the U.S. authorities related to a different case mentioned the name of “Assange” while asking that the documents in the case remain sealed until his arrest.
“Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” said the document (DW). A spokesman for the Justice Department tried to downplay the incident by claiming that Assange’s name was used in the document by mistake.
However, experts from the legal industry claim that the lawyers might have copied the text from another document while forgetting to change the name and other sensitive details. It is believed that any charge against Assange will be brought under the U.S. Espionage Act.
Meanwhile, Swedish officials are said to be still angry that Assange was able to evade their justice system and escape. The country had issued a warrant in his name in November 2010 after accusations that he had raped a woman and sexually harassed many others.
However, since Swedish law authorities could not bring Assange into courts, they dropped the investigation last year. When asked for the reason why it took Sweden seven years to close the case, the ministers are usually quick to clear out government’s responsibility in the issue.
“First of all, it’s the prosecutor that is doing this investigation. It’s not the government, it’s a prosecutor. Second, I mean, the blame is on Julian Assange. There are people that have said that they had been victims of wrongdoing, victims of crime that Julian Assange has committed. These people also actually have the right to (…) be vindicated. And that’s why the whole system is working,” Morgan Johansson, Swedish Justice and Migration Minister, said to DW.
Asylum in Ecuador
Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, where he has been residing ever since. Though Ecuador has been adamant about not handing over Assange to Britain, U.S., or Sweden, the new president, Lenín Moreno, elected into office last year, is said to be not too fond of the WikiLeaks founder. In fact, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has stated that the current president would have no qualms about giving up Assange if the United States applies enough pressure.
The U.S. administration is said to be waiting for the right time to close in on Assange. “Mr. Trump has said that he is not in the decision-making process as to whether Mr. Assange should be charged. Yet according to the Associated Press, he said that if Mr. Sessions [Attorney General] and the DOJ wanted to proceed with such a move, he would be fine with the decision,” according to the Independent.
In later October, Assange claimed that Ecuador is trying to end his asylum at the London embassy and hand him over to the U.S. The staff at the embassy have accused Assange of misbehaving with security officials and skateboarding in the halls. Till now, Ecuador has had to bear almost US$6 million in order to accommodate Assange.