MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012, has been charged in the United States, The Washington Post reported.
"Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing," the newspaper noted.
According to The Washington Post, "the disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange." "Assistant US. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that ‘due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.’ Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested," the paper said, adding that "people familiar with the matter said what Dwyer was disclosing was true, but unintentional."
"A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia said, ‘The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing’," The Washington Post wrote. At the same time, "an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment."
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the US Department of Justice was preparing to prosecute Assange, probably on espionage charges.
In 2012, Assange sought refuge in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. Assange dismissed the accusations as politically motivated. His worst fear was Sweden might extradite him to the United States, where he would face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for publishing classified State Department documents. The rape case has already been dropped but Assange still remains at the embassy.
In March 2018, new Ecuadorian authorities cut off his Internet access and phone lines and clarified the move by saying that the WikiLeaks founder continued to make political statements. Assange tried to sue Quito but his lawsuit was rejected.