AP NEWS

WikiLeaks sues to unseal any charges against founder Assange

January 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — WikiLeaks is seeking to force the Trump administration to unseal any charges filed in the U.S. against its founder, Julian Assange.

The organization said in a statement it filed a petition Wednesday with an international human rights body seeking to force disclosure of any charges against Assange and help him fight possible extradition to the United States.

WikiLeaks also said U.S. prosecutors have approached people in the U.S., Germany and Iceland “and pressed them to testify against Mr. Assange in return for immunity from prosecution.”

Assange has been holed up in the Embassy of Ecuador in London since August 2012. He has feared extradition to the U.S. since WikiLeaks published thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables.

He has long speculated that he has been charged secretly in the U.S. His fears appeared to have been confirmed in November after prosecutors, in an errant court filing in an unrelated case, inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges. The Associated Press and other media organizations later reported that Assange is indeed facing unspecified charges under seal.

Wikileaks said it argued in its petition to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington that the U.S. is compelled to disclose the charges under international law.

The commission is an agency of the Organization of American States and its decisions are theoretically binding, but the U.S. considers its rulings only as recommendations.