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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.

UN investigator finds Assange suffers from "psychological torture"

Julian Assange with his hand in a peace sign.
Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

A UN human rights investigator said Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suffered psychological torture and should be free from extradition to the United States.

What's happening: After years of fleeing prosecution for leaking classified information through his site, Assange is currently serving time in British custody and facing potential extradition to the U.S. for espionage. He's also facing possible extradition to Sweden, where he would face an investigation into rape allegations.