Australia says it will not intervene in Assange’s extradition process

Sydney, Australia, Dec 12 (EFE).- Australia said Sunday it would not intervene in the extradition to the United States of Australia’s Julian Assange and that “it will continue to respect the legal process of the United Kingdom” against the founder from WikiLeaks.

The UK approved Assange’s extradition for 18 crimes of espionage and computer intrusion for the revelations of its WikiLeaks portal, which exposed abuses of the country in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After several requests for the Australia to intervene in the process against the journalist, the Foreign Ministry said it is “closely monitoring the case of Mr. Assange, as we do with other Australians detained and subject to legal proceedings abroad.”

The Australian Labor Party said the matter had “dragged on for too long” and that the government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison should “do what it can to encourage the United States government to put an end to this matter.”

The Greens also called on Foreign Minister Marise Payne to “speak urgently to the United States and tell them to drop these absurd charges and end the torture of Assange.”

The London Court of Appeal agreed with Washington in an appeal against a January ruling that had denied the activist’s surrender, considering he presents a risk of suicide.

The case will now return to the Westminster Magistrates Court of first instance to be referred to the Interior Minister, who must decide whether the extradition will be approved.

The journalist’s defense has already said they would exhaust all resources while Assange remains in preventive detention in the London jail of Belmarsh.

The United States charges Assange with 18 crimes – which, according to the defense, could carry 175 years in prison – for the publications of WikiLeaks, which in 2010 and 2011 exposed US abuses in its detention center in Guantanamo as well as alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Initially arrested in 2010 at the behest of Sweden for a case of alleged sexual crimes then dismissed, he has been held in the United Kingdom for more than a decade despite not having been convicted of any crime.

First under house arrest, then as refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy from 2012 to 2019 and currently in prison awaiting the end of the current process. EFE


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