Australian leader refuses to publicly intervene on Assange

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday rejected his calls to publicly ask the United States to drop its prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange.

The Australian government has come under mounting pressure to intervene since the British government last week ordered the extradition of Assange to the United States on spying charges.

Assange’s supporters and lawyers say his actions were protected by the US Constitution.

Albanese, who took office in an election a month ago, declined to say whether he had spoken to President Joe Biden about the issue.

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“There are some people who think that if you put things in capital letters on Twitter and put an exclamation point, it somehow makes it more important,” Albanese told reporters.

“I intend to lead a government that will engage diplomatically and appropriately with our partners,” Albanese added.

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and Foreign Secretary Penny Wong responded to the British government’s decision by saying that “Assange’s case is long-running and…must end”.

They said they would continue to express this view to the UK and US governments, but their joint statement fell short of calling on the US to drop the case.

Among Assange’s supporters calling for Australian government intervention is his wife, Stella Assange.

She told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Bob Carr, who was foreign minister when Albanese’s centre-left Labor Party took power in 2012 and 2013, wrote in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that the Australian request to drop Assange’s trial was a “small change” in Australia. Defense alliance with the United States.

US prosecutors say Assange helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and classified military files later released by WikiLeaks, endangering people’s lives.

Carr noted that Manning’s sentence was commuted in 2017. “It appears to be a base for Americans and another for their ally’s citizens,” Carr wrote.

Carr told AuBC that Assange’s trial in the US would “ignite anti-American sentiment in Australia in a way we haven’t seen.”

He said hostility to the Australian-American alliance was not “in the interest of either country”.
Assange’s lawyers plan to appeal, extending the process for months or even years.

His wife, Stella Assange, said her husband was on trial for exposing war crimes and abuse of power.
“The only goal here is to release Julian because this has been going on since 2010. He has been in prison for more than three years and the case against him is a farce,” said Stella Assange.

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