Sun, Dec 12, 2010 - Page 5 News List

WikiLeaks lawyer says US espionage indictment would be unconstitutional


A lawyer for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said on Friday that any prosecution of the whistleblowing Web site in the US for espionage would be unconstitutional.

However, Jennifer Robinson denied reports that Assange’s legal team believe a US indictment over WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables is imminent.

“Our position is that any prosecution under the espionage act would be unconstitutional and call into question First Amendment protections for all media organizations,” Robinson said.

“We are taking legal advice on the possibility of prosecution in light of high profile public officials calling for his prosecution and rumors circulating in the US that a sealed indictment is being prepared, or may have already been prepared, but we do not think there are grounds for prosecution, nor have we seen any sensible explanation of which provisions would be relied upon,” she added.

Assange is being held in a London jail as he awaits a second court hearing on Tuesday to consider an extradition request from Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about allegations of rape and molestation. His lawyers claim the extradition moves are politically motivated.

Washington was particularly incensed when WikiLeaks last week revealed a list of infrastructure sites around the world considered key to US security.

WikiLeaks has worked with a small group of newspapers to publish the cables, rumored to have been obtained by a US serviceman.

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