An image of Julian Assange holding UK newspaper The Guardian has been doctored to look like the headline says that President Muhammadu Buhari has “massive plans to islamise Nigeria.” CrossCheck Nigeria has confirmed that the headline is not real: the original photo shows Assange holding up an article about the Afghanistan war logs in 2010.
The image has been shared by various individuals and groups on WhatsApp.
CNN confirmed the photo has been doctored through the following checks:
- A google search of “Julian Assange holding up The Guardian” returned a nearly identical looking image of Assange holding the newspaper with the headline “Massive leak of secret files exposes true Afghan war.” The photo was taken by Leon Neal for AFP/Getty Images.
- CNN, as well as many other publications, have used the photo, reporting that it was taken on July 26, 2010, a day after Wikileaks released Afghan war logs.
- The online version of the original article from The Guardian can be found here, posted on July 25, 2010.
Julian Paul Assange born Julian Paul Hawkins; 3 July 1971) is an Australian computer programmer, a grantee of political asylum, a fugitive from a British arrest warrant for breaching bail conditions, and the editor of WikiLeaks. Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning.
These leaks included the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and CableGate (November 2010). Following the 2010 leaks, the federal government of the United States launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance.
In November 2010, Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange. He had been questioned there months earlier over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Assange denied the allegations, and said that he would be extradited from Sweden to the United States because of his role in publishing secret American documents.
Assange surrendered to UK police on 7 December 2010 but was released on bail within 10 days. Having been unsuccessful in his challenge to the extradition proceedings, he breached his bail and absconded. He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 and has remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London since then. Assange has held Ecuadorian citizenship since 12 December 2017.
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