MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. The USA has violated the first amendment to its constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of media, having indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the organization’s editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson stated.
"This is the evil of lawlessness in its purest form. With the indictment, the 'leader of the free world' dismisses the First Amendment (of the US constitution - TASS) - hailed as a model of press freedom around the world - and launches a blatant extraterritorial assault outside its borders, attacking basic principles of democracy in Europe and the rest of the world," a statement published by the WikiLeaks website on Friday cites Hrafnsson.
On Thursday, the US Department of Justice unsealed 17 charges against the WikiLeaks founder. The charges "relate to disclosures of war crimes and human rights abuses by the US government", the WikiLeaks website informs. Assange may face up to 175 years behind bars.
On May 1, the London court sentenced the WikiLeaks founder to 50 weeks of jail for breaching the bail conditions. The US extradition request is currently under consideration. The next procedural hearing on this issue will be held in London on May 30.
In 2006, Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. Fearing extradition to the US from Sweden, where two women accused him of sexual harassment and rape, he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he spent almost seven years. In April, Ecuador refused him further asylum, the police promptly arrested Assange for failing to appear before London court on the 2012 order as well as on the extradition request issued by the US in 2018.