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WikiLeaks' Assange put lives at risk and went beyond journalism, US lawyers in extradition case say

Assange, 52, was indicted on 17 espionage charges and one computer charge after his website published classified documents nearly 15 years ago.

Published: February 21, 2024 12:28pm

Updated: February 21, 2024 12:29pm

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges because he went beyond journalism in his efforts to publish classified documents and he put lives at risk, U.S. prosecutors argued Wednesday before Britain's High Court.

The American government attorneys argued against Assange's request for a new appeal to stop his extradition from the U.K. to the United States, per The Associated Press

Assange, 52, was indicted on 17 espionage charges and one computer charge after his website published classified documents nearly 15 years ago. 

By publishing hundreds of thousands of documents, Assange "created a grave and imminent risk" against innocent people, attorney Clair Dobbin told the court. She also said that because Assange encouraged U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and others to hack government computers, he was "not someone who has just set up an online box to which people can provide classified information." 

Assange's attorney Edward Fitzgerald said his client may "suffer a flagrant denial of justice" if he is extradited to the U.S. to face charges. 

The two-day U.K. trial began Tuesday, and Assange was absent from court for all of the proceedings due to health issues, WikiLeaks said.

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