05:31 GMT +316 June 2019
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    A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange joins others in protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on May 30, 2019 where there was a short hearing in Assange's extradition case

    Rumours US Won't Charge Assange Over CIA Vault 7 Leak Changes Little – Attorney

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    GENOA (Sputnik) - The US alleged decision not to charge Julian Assange for his role in exposing some of the US CIA's most classified documents, including the so-called Vault 7 materials, does not bring any significant changes to his current situation, attorney Tor Ekeland, who specializes in The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) cases.

    On Sunday, Politico news outlet reported citing sources that the Department of Justice had decided to forego the extra charges due to the sensitivity of the leaked materials, the authenticity of which CIA had never confirmed. Additionally, prosecutors do not have enough time to file the charges. Under US extradition law, charges must be filed within 60 days of the first indictment, which was in March.

    "Well, it’s certainly better than bringing additional charges against him. But I would not say his situation has improved, as he is still in jail because of the charges he is facing, and he faces a long ordeal unless something dramatically changes," Ekeland said.

    The attorney pointed out that the decision to prosecute someone was "at the discretion of the Department of Justice."

    "Just because someone has committed a crime doesn’t mean they have to prosecute them. There’s a lot of reasons a prosecutor may choose not to prosecute — they may not feel like the evidence is strong enough, or that they don’t need to prosecute a particular crime because they have a strong case against someone based on other crimes, or there might be political reasons involved. In short, without hearing from the prosecutors themselves, it’s hard to tell why a prosecutor declines to prosecute something," Ekeland continued.

    In March 2017, Wikileaks published a series of documents, dubbed Vault 7, on CIA allegedly developing malware and zero-day exploits to gain access to people's personal information. The leak rendered the software tools useless and gave foreign hackers access to them.

    Assange is currently serving a sentence of 50 weeks in the United Kingdom over jumping bail and taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

    READ MORE: Swedish Court Rejects Prosecution's Request to Arrest WikiLeaks Founder Assange

    Initially, the United States sought Assange's extradition on charges of one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The US Department of Justice then indicted him on 17 additional charges, including conspiracy to obtain, receive and disclose national defense information. If extradited to the United States, the whistleblower may face up to 175 years in prison.

    In addition, shortly after Assange's arrest in April, Swedish prosecutors said they would reopen an investigation into sexual assault claims against him. Although the court of the Swedish city of Uppsala rejected earlier on Monday the request to arrest Assange in absentia, the prosecutors said they would continue the probe.

    Tags:
    leak, CIA, Department of Justice, Julian Assange, United Kingdom, United States
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