Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing
YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 16, ARMENPRESS. United States prosecutors have obtained a sealed indictment against fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assang, a U.S. federal court document showed on Thursday.
The document, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August, Reuters reports.
A source familiar with the matter said the document was initially sealed but unsealed this week for reasons that are unclear at the moment.
Wikileaks tweeted it was an “apparent cut-and-paste error.”
U.S. officials had no comment on the disclosure in the document about a sealed indictment of Assange. It is unclear what charges Assange faces.
But Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office which filed the document that was unsealed, told Reuters, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”
Prosecutors sought to keep the charges confidential until after Assange’s arrest, the document shows, saying the move was essential to ensure he did not evade or avoid arrest and extradition in the case.
Any procedure “short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, 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,” the document reads.
Since June 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, afraid that if he steps outside he will be arrested.