Australian parliament wants WikiLeaks founder back home, not sent to US

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Independent member of parliament Andrew Wilkie, left, and Julian Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton, right, speak to the media at Parliament House in Canberra on Feb 15. (AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb 15, (AP): Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Thursday he hoped for an amicable end to the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after lawmakers ramped up pressure on the United States and Britain by passing a motion calling for the Australian citizen to be allowed to return to his home country.
Albanese told Parliament the days before Britain’s High Court of Justice hears Assange’s appeal next week against extradition to the United States on espionage charges were a “critical period.”
“I hope this can be resolved. I hope it can be resolved amicably. It’s not up to Australia to interfere in the legal processes of other countries, but it is appropriate for us to put our very strong view that those countries need to take into account the need for this to be concluded,” Albanese said.
“Regardless of where people stand, this thing cannot just go on and on and on indefinitely,” Albanese added.
Albanese congratulated independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie for moving a motion in support of Assange in the House of Representatives on Wednesday ahead of the appeal.
Albanese was among the 86 lawmakers who voted for the motion that called on the United States and Britain to bring the “matter to a close so that Mr. Assange can return home to his family in Australia.”
The motion was opposed by 42 lawmakers including most of the main opposition party that unsuccessfully proposed amendments.
Leaders of both the government and the opposition have publicly stated that the United States’ pursuit of the 52-year-old had dragged on for too long.
Assange has been in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was arrested in 2019 for skipping bail during a separate legal battle.

This news has been read 391 times!

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