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Australian prime minister refuses to demand US drop prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Assange

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese gestures during a press conference in Sydney, Australia, Friday, June 10, 2022. Prime Minister Albanese on Monday rejected calls for him to publicly demand the United States drop its prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

UPDATED 9:13 AM PT – Tuesday, June 21 2022

Australian Prime Minister Michael Albanese declined to call on the US to cease it’s prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange. While speaking to reporters on Monday, the prime minister appeared to rule out intervening in Assange’s case amid the British government’s approval of his extradition to the US.

BREAKING: UK Home Secretary approves extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the US where he would face a 175 year sentence – A dark day for Press freedom and for British democracy
The decision will be appealed

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 17, 2022

Albanese told reporters he intends to lead a government that engages diplomatically and appropriately with other nations, but refused to say if he’s reached out to President Joe Biden about the matter. The prime minister’s remarks come as former Foreign Minister Bobb Carr continues to urge the government to demand Assange’s release.

“If the Australian public see an Australian being persecuted in this fashion, if they see footage of Assange in chains being taken out on the tarmac of an airport in the U.K. to be put on a CIA aircraft and taken to the U.S. for trial and a long trial, a drawn out trial and one that’s going to be allegedly stacked against him, and then imprisonment in a very harsh U.S. federal penitentiary, there will be a big public reaction in Australia,” Carr asserted.

Assange plans to appeal the British government’s extradition decision. The detained journalist’s wife highlighted the serious implications for those working in media. She pointed to human rights and stated, “We are not at the end of the road, we will fight until justice is served.”

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this decision (on Julian #Assange), which represents a failure by the UK government to protect press freedom and will have dangerous implications for journalism around the world” @RSF_inter

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 21, 2022

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