September 15, 2023 — More than 60 Australian politicians have called on the United States government to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, warning of “a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited. The letter comes ahead of announcements that a contingent of parliamentarians are coming to Washington D.C. this week in hopes of securing Assange’s freedom.
In the letter, the 63 MPs and senators said they were “resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”.
Together with a large and growing number of Australians we believe it is wrong in principle for Mr Assange to be pursued under the Espionage Act (1917), and that it was a political decision to bring the prosecution in the first place. In any case, this matter has dragged on for over a decade and 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.
The letter will be taken to Washington D.C. where it will be presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP.
Their trip, scheduled for September 20-21, is intended to raise the profile of Assange’s plight in the weeks leading up to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first prime ministerial trip to Washington at the end of October.
“There is some urgency to this mission because of the imminent possibility of Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, and his deteriorating physical and mental health”, wrote Monique Ryan MP, one of the members of the Australian parliamentary delegation.
This situation is one of politics, not of law. If the extradition request is approved, Australians will witness the deportation of one of our citizens from one AUKUS partner to another – our closest strategic ally – with Assange facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Read the whole letter here: