FILE - In this Wednesday May 1, 2019 file photo WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being taken from court, where he appeared on charges of jumping British bail seven years ago, in London. Swedish prosecutors are to reopen rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a month after he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

New US charges against Assange may slow extradition from UK

Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in London

A new indictment against Julian Assange could further delay what was already expected to be a protracted battle to get the WikiLeaks founder out of a London jail cell and into a U.S. court.

It opens the door for his legal team to argue that the Espionage Act charges are political and thus not covered by an extradition treaty.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks’ Assange gets 50 weeks in prison for bail-jumping

Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April. Though the United States and the United Kingdom have a longstanding extradition treaty, one exception is for political offences.

The charges filed Thursday accuse Assange of publishing secret documents containing the names of confidential military and diplomatic sources. The indictment alleges he directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

READ MORE: Lawyer alleges Ecuador spread lies about WikiLeaks founder

Eric Tucker, The Associated Press

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