Feeds

Grand jury meets to decide fate of WikiLeaks founder

Assange under microscope

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.