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Australia’s Prime Minister Remains Firmly Against US Prosecution of WikiLeaks Founder

By 08/01/2023 6:15 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen who is battling extradition from Britain on American espionage charges, has drawn strong criticism from Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who stated on Tuesday that his country’s government will not back down.

Since winning the 2022 elections, Albanese’s center-left Labor Party administration has argued that the United States should stop pursuing the 52-year-old, who has spent four years in a London prison fighting extradition. U.S. During a visit on Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken disputed the Australian viewpoint, claiming that Assange had been charged with “very serious criminal conduct” for publishing a large number of top-secret American secrets more than a decade earlier.

“I can relate to Australians’ worries and opinions. I believe it’s crucial that our friends in this country comprehend our worries about this situation, Blinken told the press.

As Albanese noted on Tuesday, “This has continued for far too long. There has been enough.

He informed reporters that Blinken’s public remarks were a repeat of what President Joe Biden’s team had said in private conversations with Australian government representatives.

The American government continues to receive representations from us, and we will keep doing so, said Albanese.

In their yearly meetings in Brisbane, Australia, last week, Blinken and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong discussed Assange, whose freedom is generally regarded as a test of Australia’s clout with the Biden administration. Australia is undecided over whether the U.S. should withdraw the charges or reach a plea agreement, but Wong told reporters on Saturday that Australia wanted the accusations “brought to a conclusion.”

In connection with the release of tens of thousands of secret diplomatic and military papers by WikiLeaks in 2010, Assange is accused of 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse. He is allegedly accused of aiding American prosecutors. Chelsea Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, stole sensitive diplomatic cables and military documents that WikiLeaks later released, endangering people’s lives.

Australia contends that Assange and Manning have been treated differently by the United States.

Manning was released in 2017 after then-President Barack Obama shortened her 35-year sentence to seven years. Since his arrest in 2019 for failing to appear for bail during a separate court dispute, Assange has been housed in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison. Prior to that, he spent seven years hiding out within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to prevent being extradited there to face rape and sexual assault charges.

2019 saw the end of Sweden’s sex crimes investigations due to the passage of time. Gabriel Shipton, the brother of Assange, urged Australia to exert more pressure on the United States last week.

“With every day the U.S. administration ignores the Australian public on Julian’s freedom, Australia’s position on the matter becomes more and more clear.”


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