25 May 2019

Julian Assange: US files 17 new charges against Wikileaks co-founder

4:19 pm on 25 May 2019

The US justice department has filed 17 new charges against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who is facing extradition from the UK.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at court in London on May 1, 2019 to be sentenced for bail violation.

Julian Assange arrives at court in London on 1 May 2019 to be sentenced for bail violation. Photo: AFP

The latest charges accuse him of receiving and unlawfully publishing the names of classified sources.

He was previously charged last month on one count of conspiring with ex-intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to the Pentagon network.

Assange is serving a jail sentence in the UK for breaching bail conditions.

The 47-year-old was found guilty last month after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had sought refuge since 2012 over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. He denies any wrongdoing.

The new indictment says Assange conspired with Manning in order to obtain and disclose secret US files and also exposed and endangered confidential sources in the Middle East and China.

Wikileaks hit back after the announcement, tweeting: "This is madness. It is the end of national security journalism and the first amendment [to the US Constitution]."

Manning was found guilty in 2013 of charges including espionage for leaking secret military files to Wikileaks, but her 35-year sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama.

The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.

She is currently back in jail after refusing to testify to a grand jury that is investigating Wikileaks.

Separately, Swedish authorities are also seeking the Australian-born Assange after reopening the sexual assault case against him.

It follows his dramatic arrest by UK police on 11 April after Ecuador abruptly withdrew his asylum.