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    Protesters rally in front of the Westminster Magistrate's Courthouse in London in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

    US Lawmakers Say Assange Should Be Held Responsible for Election Meddling

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    WikiLeaks Founder Assange Arrested in London as Ecuador Withdraws Political Asylum (83)
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Several US lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle in separate statements on Thursday said WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange must be held accountable for allegedly working with Russia to interfere in American elections.

    "Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of… the Russian government", US Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said via Twitter. US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, expressed in a press release on Thursday that Assange must face justice for working as part of the Russian intelligence services and conspiring to steal classified information.

    READ MORE: 'Culture of Revenge': US Tries to Get Assange by Hook or by Crook

    Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he hopes the US justice system holds Assange "to account for his crimes". Senate Vice Chairman on the Intelligence Committee Mark Warner said in a separate press release that the British courts must quickly extradite Assange to the United States so he can "finally get the justice he deserves", Warner also claimed Assange worked with Russia to help undermine the West and US security.

    Republican Senator Lyndsey Graham, Congressman Eliot Engel and several other lawmakers made similar comments throughout the day. Assange was arrested in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London earlier. The UK police confirmed that the arrest had been made "on behalf of the United States authorities". Ecuador had withdrawn asylum it had earlier granted Assange. US authorities indicted Assange in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, the Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday.

    The computer intrusion charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. However, experts and former intelligence officials have said the United States could bring additional charges against Assange.

    READ MORE: Past Controversial, Future Uncertain: The Life and Times of Julian Assange

    US authorities indicted Assange in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, the Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday.

    Assange gained fame after WikiLeaks published a large number of leaked files, including some referring to US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and conditions in Guantanamo detention camp. Assange faced criticism for not redacting some of the names in the files which some argue put Afghan informants and US personnel at risk in Afghanistan.

    Since 2012, Assange had been residing in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced a probe over allegations of sexual offenses. Assange denied those allegations and called them politically motivated. While the Swedish police dropped the investigation in 2017, Assange was still wary of being extradited to the United States.

    Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the US political system, saying the allegations were fabricated to excuse the election loss of President Donald Trump's opponent as well as to deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud and corruption.

    READ MORE: No Journalist is Safe: Protestors React to Assange Arrest, Likely US Extradition

    Topic:
    WikiLeaks Founder Assange Arrested in London as Ecuador Withdraws Political Asylum (83)

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    meddling, lawmakers, election, Julian Assange, United States, United Kingdom
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