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  • For decades, the U.S. has sought to extradite Julian Assange, the founder and creator of WikiLeaks. The 52-year-old internet vigilante and journalist is facing at least 18 criminal charges in the United States after releasing countless documents, records, and classified materials on his public website, WikiLeaks, over the past several years.

    Assange’s charges include conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, aiding and abetting in obtaining classified information, and solicitation of classified information.

    The U.S. Justice Department confirmed that each charge Assange faces carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count except for the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

    According to the U.S. Justice Department, Assange’s publications directly put lives in danger. After publishing various classified files, prosecutors say agents named in the leaked material were put at risk. These agents included journalists, human rights advocates, political dissidents from repressive regimes, religious leaders, and other diplomats from around the world. The U.S. government’s national security interests were also put at risk by the disclosure of the sensitive material.

    In sharp contrast, global supporters of Assange believe that the U.S. is seeking out the individual because he exposed U.S. wrongdoing on a massive scale. Supporters claim the efforts to prosecute Assange are an assault on free speech.

    Regardless, it seems like Assange will ultimately face trial in the United States as Britain has approved his extradition. Right now, Assange is continuing to attempt to fight the decision and overturn the extradition approval. A public hearing will take place on February 20th and 21st. If Assange is not successful, then he will be taken to America to face his charges.

    Extradition and What It Means in Your Case

    If you get charged with a criminal offense in one country while living, residing, or visiting a different country, then it might be possible for you to also face extradition. First, one country charges the suspect with a specific crime and creates a formal indictment and warrant for arrest. From there, they contact the country where they expect to find you and inform them about your criminal charges.

    The country you are in will then attempt to locate you and arrest you. You will face a trial in this foreign country where the court will decide whether to extradite you or not. If your extradition is approved, then you’ll get transported to the original country where your warrant was issued to face criminal trial there. You will immediately go to jail in that country.

    As you can see from Assange’s case, extradition can take several months and even years to complete. In the meantime, you could be stuck in jail depending on where the proceedings are taking place. You may not have the same rights as you do in other countries.

    For that reason, it’s always best to consider hiring a global attorney who can help you unpack everything you need to know about your complicated situation. Schedule a meeting with our team now to get started.

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