Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Julian Assange’s family says federal election result brings renewed hope for WikiLeaks founder’s release

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-27/julian-assange-release-family-election-result-brings-hope/101100860, By Brendan Mounter and Adam Stephen, 27 May 22,

Key points:

  • The family and supporters of Julian Assange are hopeful of securing his release following a change of government
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has previously expressed support for efforts to secure the WikiLeaks founder’s return to Australia
  • Mr Assange has spent the past three years in the UK’s Belmarsh Prison

The family of Julian Assange is hopeful the election of a federal Labor government will pave the way for the WikiLeaks founder’s eventual release and a return to Australia. 

It has been almost a decade since Mr Assange, who originally hails from Townsville in north Queensland, has been a free man.

For the past three years, he has been in high security detention at Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom, after seven years of asylum within London’s Ecuadorian embassy in a bid to avoid arrest.

United States authorities have sought Mr Assange’s extradition from the UK so he can stand trial on charges of espionage and computer misuse relating to hundreds of thousands of leaked cables from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His brother, film producer Gabriel Shipton, said Mr Assange had been persecuted for publishing the ugly truths of war.

“Julian is accused of what investigative journalists do all the time, which is sourcing and publishing materials from a source, Chelsea Manning,” Mr Shipton said.

“Those releases exposed war crimes in Iraq, undocumented civilian deaths in Iraq, corruption, government malfeasance … all sorts of things.”

American prosecutors allege Mr Assange unlawfully helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.

Family urges incoming government to act

Lawyers for Mr Assange fear he could face up to 175 years in jail if he is extradited to the US and convicted.

But the weekend’s election result has buoyed his supporters, with the hope that the new Labor government will intervene and help secure his release.

While in Opposition, newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is reported to have told a February 2021 caucus meeting that “enough was enough” and he “can’t see what’s served by keeping [Assange] incarcerated”. 

Mr Albanese is also a signatory to the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign petition.

Senior Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, who is expected to be appointed Attorney-General, has also expressed a need to “bring the matter to a close”.

Mr Shipton is calling on the new government to turn those words into action.

“That was the Labor position before the election so we’re very hopeful when there’s a new administration, a new government coming in there’s always a lot of hope that they will live up to their promises,” he said.

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May 28, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics

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