Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

More than 60 politicians sign new petition to the USA on behalf of Julian Assange


Published 19 September 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Protest at Piccadilly Circus in London in May 2023.

63 Australian politicians have signed a new letter to the USA, once again pleading to drop the extradition demands for journalist Julian Assange. The politicians also warn of a “sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if he is extradited to the USA.

As recently as April, 48 Australian politicians from various parties in the country wrote a letter to US attorney general Merrick Garland, urging him to abandon the country’s efforts to extradite Assange from the UK and instead allow him to return to Australia. The letter pointed out that such an extradition could create a “dangerous precedent” for press freedom and further damage the US’s international reputation.

When US secretary of state Antony Blinken visited Australia in August, he made it clear that they were not willing to drop the extradition demands against the WikiLeaks founder, stating that he stands “accused of a very serious criminal offense”. Australian parliamentarian Andrew Wilkie subsequently accused the USA of acting vindictively and noted that investigations have shown that WikiLeaks’ revelations did not lead to any harm.

Australian politicians have again written a plea, this time with 63 members of parliament and senators signing the letter, reports British newspaper The Guardian.

The letter states that it is “wrong for Mr Assange to be further persecuted and denied his liberty when one considers the duration and circumstances of the detention he has already suffered”.

“It serves no purpose, it is unjust, and we say clearly – as friends should always be honest with friends – that the prolonged pursuit of Mr Assange wears away at the substantial foundation of regard and respect that Australians have for the justice system of the United States of America”, reads the letter.

A bi-partisan effort

The initiative for the letter was taken by the leaders of the parliamentary group Bring Julian Assange Home, which includes parliamentarians Andrew Wilkie, Josh Wilson from Labor, Bridget Archer from the Liberal Party, and Senator David Shoebridge from The Greens. The signatures suggest a continued increase in support among various parties in the country, and they also warn of a “sharp and sustained outcry” if Assange is extradited to the USA.

“Let there be no doubt that if Julian Assange is removed from the United Kingdom to the United States there will a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia”, they write.

Julian Assange is an Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks. In 2010, he released a series of classified documents that among other things revealed war crimes against civilians committed by the USA in connection with the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

After unconfirmed allegations of sexual assault, Assange was sought by Sweden in the same year of 2010 for extradition, after which he would likely face the risk of being extradited to the USA, where he faces the death penalty or life imprisonment. Assange managed to evade extradition by seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he stayed for a full seven years until his asylum was revoked in 2019. The journalist was then arrested by British authorities, and in June 2022, the UK government ordered that he should be extradited to the USA. Since then, he has been in British prison during an ongoing appeal.

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