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Sunday July 21, 2024

Assange wanted for ‘indiscriminately’ publishing sources’ names, say US lawyers

US prosecutors are seeking to put Assange, 52, on trial over WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables

By Reuters
February 22, 2024
Australian Editor Julian Assange can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Australian Editor Julian Assange can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

LONDON: Julian Assange is being prosecuted for publishing sources’ names and not his political opinions, lawyers representing the United States said on Wednesday as the WikiLeaks founder fights to stop his extradition from Britain.

US prosecutors are seeking to put Assange, 52, on trial over WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables.

They argue the leaks imperiled the lives of their agents and there was no excuse for his criminality. Assange’s supporters, however, hail him as a journalist and a hero who is being persecuted for exposing US wrongdoing.

Assange’s lawyers told London’s High Court on Tuesday that the case was politically motivated, arguing Assange was targeted for his exposure of “state-level crimes” and that former US president Donald Trump had requested “detailed options” on how to kill him.

But, on Wednesday, lawyers for the US said Assange’s prosecution was “based on the rule of law and evidence”.

Clair Dobbin told the court: “The appellant’s prosecution might be unprecedented, but what he did was unprecedented.”

Assange “indiscriminately and knowingly published to the world the names of individuals who acted as sources of information to the US”, Dobbin said.