Australian government rejects calls to pressure UK and US to release Julian Assange | Julien assange
The Australian government has rejected calls to intervene to secure Julian Assange’s freedom, after a UK court cleared the way for the WikiLeaks co-founder to be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges.
The government said it was following the Australian citizen’s case closely, but would “continue to respect UK legal process – including any further appeals under UK law” – and stressed that Australia does not ‘was “not a party to the case”.
The High Court in London ruled on Friday that Assange could be extradited to the United States, triggering a wish by Assange’s legal team to appeal. It has also prompted warnings from press freedom and rights groups that the prosecution of a publisher under US espionage law is setting “a dangerous precedent.”
Assange has been remanded in custody and Friday’s ruling paves the way for UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to ultimately decide whether Assange should be extradited to the United States or not.
This has led to further calls for the Australian government to take a stand, with Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ‘end this madness’ and demand that the US and UK Uni free Assange.
Labor has said it believes the case has “dragged on for too long” and that the Morrison government should “do what it can to encourage the US government to bring it to an end”.
The Greens also called on Foreign Secretary Marise Payne to “speak urgently to the United States and tell them to drop these absurd accusations and end the torture of Assange.”
In response to a request for comment on the latest developments, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was “following Mr. Assange’s case closely, as we are doing with other Australians detained and subjected to legal proceedings abroad ”.
“Australia will continue to respect the UK legal process, including any further appeals under UK law,” a spokesperson for the department said.
“It is up to Mr. Assange to decide how to react to the High Court’s decision. Australia is not a party to the case.
The spokesperson said Australia continued to offer consular assistance to Assange and seek his consent to discuss his health situation with prison authorities, but had “not responded to our offers” .
“The Australian government has raised the situation of Mr. Assange with his US and UK counterparts – including our expectations for due process, humane and fair treatment, access to appropriate medical and other care, and access to its legal team – and will continue to do so. . “
Payne is in Liverpool in the UK this weekend to attend a meeting of G7 foreign and development ministers. She met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the meeting, but there was no mention of Assange in the US reading of the talks.
The Guardian has asked Payne and Morrison’s offices if they would consider asking Patel not to approve the extradition and the United States to drop their pursuit of Assange.
Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, told the Mail on Sunday Assange was in pain like an animal trapped in a cage in a zoo. He had a “mini-stroke” at Belmarsh prison in October, she said.
“Julian is in trouble and I’m afraid this mini-stroke is the precursor to a bigger attack. This compounds our fears about its ability to survive as this lengthy legal battle continues, ”Moris told the newspaper.
“I believe this constant game of chess, battle after battle, extreme stress, is what caused Julian’s stroke on October 27th.”
The case against Assange concerns WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as diplomatic cables, in 2010 and 2011.
The United States alleges Assange conspired with Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash on a classified US Department of Defense computer.
Reporters Without Borders said Assange “risked life imprisonment for publishing information in the public interest.”
The group said the US espionage law lacks public interest defense and the precedent “could be applied to any media outlet that published articles based on the leaked documents, or even any reporter, editor or source. ‘anywhere in the world “.
Reporters Without Borders called on the US government to “drop once and for all its case of more than ten years against Assange, in accordance with its declared commitment to protect the freedom of the media”.
The United States offered a number of assurances which were crucial to the success of the appeal.
These included that Assange would not be subject to “special administrative measures” or held in a maximum security “ADX” facility and could seek, if found guilty, to be transferred to a prison in Australia.
US assurances were described in Friday’s ruling by Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice, and Lord Justice Holroyde as “solemn undertakings offered by one government to another”.
They sent the case back to Westminster Magistrates’ Court with instructions to send the case to Patel.