US might charge Wikileaks founder Assange under Espionage Act

Washington, Dec 11 (ANI): America is all set to being spying charges against Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblower website 'Wikileaks' that published over 250,000 US secret diplomatic cables, according to his lawyer.

The Daily Mail quoted Jennifer Robinson as saying that the U.S. charges are 'imminent', adding that he is being currently held in solitary confinement with restricted access to his lawyers.

"This means he is under significant surveillance but also means he has more restrictive conditions than other prisoners. Considering the circumstances, he was incredibly positive and upbeat,' she said yesterday.

Although he appears to have committed no crime in America, the administration is reportedly under immense pressure to find some way of punishing him for releasing hundreds of secret cables on the internet, the paper said.

Any prosecution would probably have to be started under the auspices of the Espionage Act, which makes it a crime to receive national defence information if it is known to have been obtained illegally and could be used 'to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, it added.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder had confirmed that he had ordered a criminal probe and claimed the leaks had put America at risk.

"We have a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature. I authorised just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable, as they should be," he added.

Assange is behind bars in London awaiting an extradition hearing on charges of raping two women in Sweden. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the U.S. would have to launch another extradition bid either in Sweden or the UK, the paper said. (ANI)

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