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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pictured in a prison van in the U.K. on May 1, 2019. The U.S. has disclosed charges under the Espionage Act against Assange. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

US charges Julian Assange with 17 counts under Espionage Act

May 23, 2019 5:01 PM ET

New York, May 23, 2019--The Trump administration today disclosed 17 new criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for unlawfully obtaining and disclosing national defense information.

"The indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for publishing classified information is an attack on the First Amendment and a threat to all journalists everywhere who publish information that governments would like to keep secret," said CPJ's Executive Director Joel Simon. "Press freedom in the United States and around the world is imperiled by this prosecution."

In early April, the Trump administration unsealed a separate indictment against Assange, alleging that he had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in the course of his work obtaining and publishing documents from Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst. British authorities arrested Assange after Ecuadoran officials lifted his protection in their embassy in London, where he had been since 2012, on April 11, 2019. The U.S. is seeking his extradition from the U.K.

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