Aussie Lawmakers to Travel to U.S. to Fight Assange Extradition

Aussie Lawmakers to Travel to U.S. to Fight Assange Extradition

September 5, 2023

Breitbart News reports that a group of Australian lawmakers said Tuesday they would travel to Washington this month to lobby the United States to abandon its efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The delegation includes former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and five other lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Independent lawmaker and delegation member Monique Ryan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. they represented a large group of lawmakers who feel “really, really strongly about the importance of securing Mr. Assange’s freedom.”

Ryan said Assange was in poor health which made the matter more pressing.

Assange, an Australian citizen, has spent the past four years in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison fighting extradition to the U.S. He has been charged with espionage for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks. If found guilty, he could face a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.

The effort by the Australian lawmakers is the latest in a series of international moves raising questions about the extradition. Pope Francis met with Assange’s wife Stella in June, which she said was evidence of his ongoing support for the family’s plight. In May, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva denounced the lack of concerted efforts to free Assange.

Greg Barns, a human rights lawyer and Assange campaign adviser, said most Australians believed the matter should come to an end.

“Julian should be immediately reunited with his wife and children,” Barns said. “That can only happen if the U.S. Department of Justice drops its extradition bid at once.”

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