Commenting on the arrest in London of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of the Russian government media outlets RT and Rossiya Segodnya, repeatedly claimed the whistleblower is facing death penalty in the United States.
She first posted her claim in a form of a rhetorical question: “What awaits him now? Decades in prisons? Death penalty in one of the states of the world’s beacon of democracy?”
In her next Telegram post, Simonyan asserted: “Kindly Ecuador, which today surrendered Assange to the police, demanded that the British not extradite him to the country where he faces death penalty – i.e. the States. A few years ago Assange told me the UK will extradite him to Sweden and [from] Sweden to the U.S. Precisely where he is under the threat of the death penalty.”
Symonyan’s statement that Assange is facing the death penalty in the U.S. is false.
According to the indictment against Julian Assange, unsealed today (April 11) by the U.S. Justice Department, the United States is charging him with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.”
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, for charges similar to those brought against Assange in the U.S., a “person shall be fined or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Furthermore, if Assange, who was arrested today (April 11) in the British capital after being convicted of skipping bail is extradited to the United States, he will have a right to defend himself in a U.S. court, where any defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.
The U.S. Justice Department said that Assange “was arrested pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty,” and accused him of involvement in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.
Earlier this week the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov made a similar statement claiming that “electric chair” was awaiting Edward Snowden in the United States. Polygraph.info examined his claim and found it false.