UK judge warns Assange on US extradition hearing attendance

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The 48-year-old Australian has been indicted in the U.S. on 18 charges over the publication of classified documents. Prosecutors say he conspired with U.S. army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password, hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last week the U.S. Justice Department added a new, superseding, indictment that alleges Assange conspired with members of hacking organizations and sought to recruit hackers to provide WikiLeaks with classified information. The indictment does not add any new charges, but broadens the allegations against Assange.

Assange was arrested last year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

He is in London’s Belmarsh Prison awaiting a full extradition hearing, which has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally due to begin in May, it is now scheduled to start on Sept. 7.

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