Lawyers for Julian Assange hit back at US '˜charges'

Lawyers for Julian Assange have hit back at revelations the US justice department is preparing charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Julian Assange. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Reports in the US said Mr Assange was named by mistake in a US court document, leading to suggestions he may have been charged in secret. Justice officials said the filing was made in error.

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The Australian has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than six years, believing he will be extradited to the US if he leaves. He has long maintained the US authorities have a sealed indictment for his arrest.

Barry J Pollack, US attorney for Mr Assange, said: “The notion federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.”

Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange’s lawyer in the UK, added: “The US indictment of Assange is a grave violation of press freedoms. The Trump administration is seeking to extend US law worldwide, claiming it is a criminal offence for a publisher in Europe to reveal evidence of US government abuses. How long until China, Russia or Saudi Arabia follow suit, citing the US example?”