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US formally requests extradition of Julian Assange


The Justice Department last Thursday formally requested the United Kingdom extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a U.S. official told The Washington Post.

Assange faces U.S. charges on soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to hack a Department of Defense computer password.

In May, Justice Department officials added several more charges related to publishing documents that revealed the names of low-level, local sources utilized by the U.S. government, including Afghan and Iraqi nationals, as well as journalists, human rights activists and religious leaders.

Assange was evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11, after residing in the residence since 2012 when the country granted him political asylum. After leaving the embassy, he was arrested by British police and is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012, the Associated Press reported.

Sweden is also seeking Assange on rape allegations.

Last month, reports emerged that Assange was too ill to appear via video for a hearing on an extradition request from the U.S. His lawyer, Gareth Peirce, told Reuters that he was very sick.

He is set to have another hearing on Wednesday in the U.K., the Washington Post reported. 

WikiLeaks also tweeted about Assange’s health, saying they had “grave concerns” for Assange after he was moved to a health ward in Belmarsh high-security prison.

“During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” it added in a statement. “The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.”

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