‘It is time Julian Assange was brought home,’ reiterates Australian premier

Anthony Albanese's statement comes as 2-day hearing to contest Wikileaks founder's extradition to US began on Tuesday

Islam Uddin  | 21.02.2024 - Update : 21.02.2024
‘It is time Julian Assange was brought home,’ reiterates Australian premier


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday said it was time that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was brought home amid his extradition attempts to the US.

Reacting to his possible extradition, Albanese said he had raised this issue at the "highest levels" with the US and UK.

"I have put the view very clearly, privately, as I have publicly, that enough is enough. It's time Julian Assange was brought home. I've engaged with his legal team on a regular basis as well, on a strategy to try to get through this and come out the other side in Mr. Assange's interest," he told ABC Radio during an interview.

Albanese's statement came amid an ongoing two-day hearing of Assange, which could be his last chance to contest his extradition from Britain to the US.

The Australian prime minister said his government engaged with both countries diplomatically and is working to achieve an outcome rather than create a headline.

"It's a legal process in another country. So, that is why, both with the US and the UK, we have to engage diplomatically. We certainly have done so," he said.

Last week, the Australian parliament also passed a resolution calling for Assange, who is an Australian citizen, to be allowed to return to his home country.

Assange, who has been detained in a UK prison since 2019, faces extradition over allegations of leaking classified military documents in 2010-2011.

The UK High Court, in a pivotal 2021 ruling, decreed that Assange should be extradited, dismissing assertions over his fragile mental state and the risks he might face in a US correctional facility.

Following suit, the Supreme Court in 2022 upheld the decision, while then-Home Secretary Priti Patel affirmed the extradition order, intensifying the legal battle.

In his latest bid for a reprieve, Assange is seeking authorization to scrutinize Patel's determination and challenge the initial 2021 court verdict.

Should this recourse falter, Assange would exhaust all available avenues for appeal within the UK legal system, thus triggering the extradition process.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid.

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