Biden ‘considering’ Australian request to drop case against Assange | Espionage News


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says US president’s comments encouraging.

United States President Joe Biden has said he is “considering” a request by Australia to end the decade-long push to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the release of troves of classified documents.

Australia’s parliament in February passed a motion calling for the release of Assange with the backing of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Assange, an Australian citizen, has been held in the United Kingdom since 2019 as he fights extradition to the US to face espionage charges.

Before he was remanded at Belmarsh Prison in London, Assange spent seven years holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced a since-abandoned sexual assault investigation.

Asked about Australia’s request on Wednesday, Biden said, “We’re considering it.”

Biden, who made the comment in Washington, DC, while meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, did not elaborate.

Albanese said Biden’s remarks were encouraging and the issue “needs to be brought to a conclusion”.

“Mr. Assange has already paid a significant price and enough is enough. There’s nothing to be gained by Mr. Assange’s continued incarceration in my very strong view and I’ve put that as the view of the Australian government,” Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Assange’s wife Stella in a social media post called on Biden to “do the right thing” and drop the charges.

Assange, 52, has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over his role in the 2010 leaking of classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If convicted, he faces up to 175 years in prison.

Assange’s prosecution has been widely denounced by press freedom and human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders.

The High Court in London last month delayed a decision on Assange’s extradition pending assurances by US authorities that he would not face the death penalty.

The court is expected to make a final decision on Assange’s appeal on May 20 after providing the US three weeks to make further submissions in the case.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button