Feeds

Grand jury meets to decide fate of WikiLeaks founder

Assange under microscope

Mobile application security vulnerability report

A federal grand jury in Virginia is meeting to decide whether to bring spying charges against Julian Assange, an attorney for the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder said over the weekend.

“We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria (Virginia),” attorney Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera over the weekend, according to CNN. “They are currently investigating this.”

Assange is currently being held in solitary confinement in London as the UK considers an extradition request from Swedish authorities who want to question him regarding two alleged sexual assaults. He has indicated he will fight attempts to extradite him to that country. A hearing in London court is scheduled for Tuesday, Stephens said.

“I think that the Americans are much more interested in terms of the WikiLeaks aspect of this,” Stephens told the Middle Eastern news agency. If Assange is forcibly transferred to Sweden, authorities in that country have indicated “they will defer their interest in him to the Americans. It does seem to me that what we have here is nothing more than a holding charge.”

Stephens's comments came as the US House Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing for Thursday “on the Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Issues Raised by WikiLeaks.” Assange attorneys have said they expect Assange to be charged “soon” under the 1917 statute, which was enacted by Congress during World War I.

US Attorney General Eric Holder has said his agency has “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature,” related to the whistle-blower site.

No news agency has ever successfully been prosecuted under the law, but CNET provides an analysis here that suggests that if Assange is charged under the statute “his defense is likely to face long legal odds.”

The legal problems for Assange comes as his ranking for Time magazine's Man of the Year has risen above all other candidates, with the WikiLeaks founder receiving 382,020 votes, compared with 233,638 votes for the No. 2 candidate, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and 146,378 votes for pop star Lady Gaga. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.