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9 May 2023

Australian lawmakers have met United States Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, urging her to help drop the pending extradition case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and allow him to return to Australia.

The “Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group” said on Tuesday it informed Kennedy of “the widespread concern in Australia” about the continued detention of Assange, an Australian citizen.

KEEP READINGlist of 4 itemslist 1 of 4Australia PM says no point in US’s continued pursuit of Assangelist 2 of 4UK approves US extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assangelist 3 of 4CIA sued for allegedly surveilling Americans who met with Assangelist 4 of 4Top media outlets demand US end prosecution of Julian Assangeend of list

The meeting comes before US President Joe Biden’s scheduled visit to Australia this month for the Quad leaders’ summit.

“There are a range of views about Assange in the Australian community and the members of the Parliamentary Group reflect that diversity of views. But what is not in dispute in the Group is that Mr Assange is being treated unjustly,” the legislators said in a statement after meeting Kennedy in the capital, Canberra.

Assange is battling extradition from the United Kingdom to the US where he is wanted on criminal charges over the release of confidential military records and diplomatic cables in 2010. Washington says the release of the documents had put lives in danger.

Assange’s supporters say he is an anti-establishment hero who has been victimised because he exposed US wrongdoings, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US embassy in Australia confirmed the meeting in a tweet but did not share further details.

‘Millions of Australians’

Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, said he felt the meeting was an “important acknowledgement” by the US government that “Julian’s freedom is important to millions of Australians”.






free julian now.....

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture has called upon authorities in the UK to block Julian Assange’s possible extradition to the United States to face espionage charges. Britain could be violating human rights laws by turning the WikiLeaks founder over to the US, due to his fragile mental state, UN expert Alice Jill Edwards warned on Tuesday.

Ahead of Assange’s final appeal against extradition this month, Edwards has warned that Assange’s “precarious mental health status” could mean that transferring him to US custody could endanger his health.

“Julian Assange suffers from long-standing and recurrent depressive order,” Edwards said in a statement published on the website of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday. “He is assessed as being at risk of committing suicide.”

Assange, now 52, came to international prominence in 2010 when he published a series of leaks from US Army intelligence operative Chelsea Manning in what was referred to as the largest disclosure of classified documents in history. He faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted of a string of espionage charges.

Edwards added that Assange is also at “risk of being placed in prolonged solitary confinement” and could receive a “potentially disproportionate sentence” in a US courtroom if extradition is approved.

She also urged London to ensure “full compliance with the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of refoulement to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

A final decision on Assange’s possible extradition is expected to be made in London’s High Court on February 20 and 21. He faces a total of 18 criminal counts in the United States over his supposed role in leaking classified documents via the WikiLeaks platform, including some that exposed alleged war crimes.

Assange has been hailed by his supporters as an anti-establishment hero who is being persecuted for exposing US military wrongdoing, and his prosecution would be an attack on journalism and free speech.

“The last four and a half years have taken the most considerable toll on Julian and his family, including our two young sons,” Assange’s wife Stella, whom he married in prison, said last year. “The persecution of this innocent journalist and publisher must end.”

Assange has been detained in the UK since 2019 and is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison in London. Prior to his detention, he spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in the English capital after being granted political asylum by the South American country.