Julian Assange To Be Sentenced For UK Bail Violation On Wednesday

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces sentencing in London on Wednesday for breaching his bail conditions, the whistleblowing site and a court official said.

Written By Press Trust Of India | Mumbai | Updated On:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces sentencing in London on Wednesday for breaching his bail conditions, the whistleblowing site and a court official said.

Assange could face a 12-month prison sentence for the violation, although time already served in prison may be taken into account.

The 47-year-old, who was arrested earlier this month after spending seven years holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, is due to appear in person at Southwark Crown Court for the hearing, a court official said.

Assange, who took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape accusations, was arrested on April 11 after Quito terminated his asylum.

WikiLeaks exposed everything from US military secrets to tax evasion by the wealthy.

READ| Here Are The Major Takeaways From The Case Of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

He is also wanted for computer hacking in the United States and faces an initial extradition hearing on Thursday, although the process could last for months or even years. 

The decision to seek the extradition of Julian Assange marked a dramatic new approach to the founder of WikiLeaks by the U.S. government, a shift that was signalled in the early days of the Trump administration.

President Barack Obama's Justice Department had extensive internal debates about whether to charge Assange amid concerns the case might not hold up in court and would be viewed as an attack on journalism by an administration already taking heat for leak prosecutions.

But senior Trump administration officials seemed to make clear early on that they held a different view, dialling up the rhetoric on the anti-secrecy organization shortly after it made damaging disclosures about the CIA's cyber espionage tools.

"WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service," former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in April 2017 in his first public speech as head of the agency.

"Assange and his ilk," Pompeo said, seek "personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values." A week after the CIA director's speech, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the arrest of Assange was a priority, part of a broader Justice Department crackdown on leakers.

"We've already begun to step up our efforts, and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail," he said.

WATCH: Wikileaks Tweets Video Of Julian Assange's Cat Watching His Owner's Arrest, Organisation Asserts 'they Will Be Reunited In Freedom'

Pompeo, now secretary of state, declined Friday to discuss the issue, citing the now-active legal pursuit of Assange following his removal a day earlier by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The administration won't say why they decided now to charge Assange with a single count of computer intrusion conspiracy that dates to 2010. 

Back then, WikiLeaks is alleged to have helped Chelsea Manning, then a US Army intelligence analyst, crack a password that gave her higher-level access to classified computer networks.

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