Australian PM backs Assange freedom bid — RT World News

The WikiLeaks co-founder faces extradition to the US, where he faces a possible 175-year prison sentence on espionage charges.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was among several federal lawmakers who voted in favor of a motion calling on authorities in the UK and US to allow WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to be returned to Australia, where he was born.

The motion, proposed by independent MP Andrew Wilkie, was approved overwhelmingly at Wednesday's session after gaining the support of Albanese's Labor government. Peter Dutton, leader of the Conservative Opposition Coalition, along with a majority of his colleagues opposed the vote.

And the result was “An unprecedented show of political support for Mr Assange by the Australian Parliament.” Wilkie said afterward, adding that he expected the proposal “It will send a strong political signal to the British government and the American government.”

Australian citizen Assange, 52, is currently being held in Belmarsh Prison in London awaiting ruling on an appeal to block his extradition to the United States. He faces a possible 175-year prison sentence on espionage charges related to the disclosure of large amounts of government information — some of which appears to document American war crimes abroad.

Albanese has repeatedly urged the United States to withdraw its extradition requests, but has so far been unable to agree a diplomatic solution and said Assange's future would be up in the air. “I have come to a conclusion.”

Among the diplomatic steps taken was a meeting between Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and his American counterpart Merrick Garland in Washington, D.C., two weeks ago. Speaking to The Guardian Australia, Dreyfus did not elaborate on this matter “Private discussion” Other than saying that “[US] “The government’s position on Mr Assange is very clear and has not changed.”

During a discussion before Wednesday's vote, Wilkie said that if Assange's appeal against his extradition is unsuccessful next week, “He could be on a plane to the United States within hours.”

“We are running out of time to save Julian Assange.” The representative added.

Speaking last summer, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that US policy on Assange was consistent. He said this after his meeting with Australian officials in Brisbane in July “Our friends” In Australia we must fully understand Assange “Alleged role in one of the largest breaches of classified information in our country's history.”

However, Assange's supporters claim he has been victimized by the US for exposing wrongdoing, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and claim his imprisonment there would be an assault on press freedom.

A public hearing is scheduled to be held on February 20-21 in London, according to a WikiLeaks statement.

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