Australia Won't Challenge Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange's Extradition to US

21 Apr, 2022 10:18 IST|Sakshi Post

On Wednesday, a British court issued a formal order for the Australian national to be extradited to the United States, where he will stand trial for leaking a trove of classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Julian Assange may face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

Sydney, Australia: A senior government minister indicated Thursday that Australia will not oppose Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States and has faith in the British justice system.

On Wednesday, a British court issued a formal order for the Australian national to be extradited to the United States, where he will stand trial for leaking a trove of classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

He could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

"We have confidence in the independence and integrity of the British justice system," Australian Senator Simon Birmingham told Australia's national broadcaster ABC on Thursday.

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He stated that the Australian government was not opposing the extradition.

Birmingham, Australia's finance minister, stated, "This is a process that will be able to continue to work through that system."

Assange's attorneys have until May 18 to make arguments to Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, who will make the final decision on his extradition after the British court's order.

Birmingham emphasised that Assange's right to appeal remained intact and that Australia would continue to provide consular support to its imprisoned citizen.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders are among the 25 human rights organisations that have contested Assange's extradition, claiming that it poses a "severe threat to press freedom both in the United States and overseas."

For more than a decade, the Australian has fought extradition, finding sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

He has been jailed in London's Belmarsh prison since 2019 for failing to appear in court on the Swedish allegations, which were withdrawn in 2020.

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