Stories

Justice Department submits official extradition request for Julian Assange

Julian Assange holding up a fist while looking into the camera.
Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

The Justice Department has officially filed an extradition request to the United Kingdom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Assange, who is currently being detained in the U.K., has been indicted by the Justice Department on 18 counts for conspiring to hack into a government computer and for violating the Espionage Act — charges that have alarmed journalists and activists who fear a crackdown on First Amendment rights.

  • United Nations human rights investigator Nils Melzer issued a statement last month urging against extradition, warning that Assange would face "a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial."

What's next: It is unclear whether the U.K. will cooperate with the order, but Assange is due at a hearing on June 12.

Go deeper ... Timeline: Julian Assange's 9-year legal limbo reaches its climax