The delegation will bring to Washington “a powerful message” from one of its “closest” allies, said the brother of the founder of WiliLeaks, Gabriel Shipton.
A group of Australian legislators will travel to Washington this month to request an end to the judicial persecution against the founder of the WikiLeaks portal, Julian Assange. The deputies plan to meet with members of the House and Senate, the Department of State and the Department of Justice to advocate against the extradition of Assange to the North American country.
“The all-party Australian delegation brings a powerful message from one of the US’s closest allies that the continued vengeful persecution by Australian editor and journalist Julian Assange is beginning to take its toll on the close friendship the two nations have enjoyed throughout history,” Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, told Fox News.
As part of their visit, Australian lawmakers will also meet with civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. For his part, Greg Barns, human rights lawyer and Assange campaign advisor, indicated that polls show that Almost 90% of Australians believe the charges against Assange should be dropped.
“The most incessant harassment, the most unscrupulous lies and the most malicious persecution over 13 years reveal to us a malignant contempt for the magnificent civic treasures of human achievement,” said Assange’s father, John Shipton. “Julian’s fight for freedom represents for all people a hard and iron determination to assert and continue to assert our indelible and inalienable rights,” he said.
“A serious threat to journalism”
Ben Wizner, director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said there are “serious concerns” that, should Assange end up in prison “for publishing truthful information,” your example “will be a serious threat to investigative journalism in the United States and around the world.
“The job of the media is challenge the government monopoly on secrets“said Wizner. “And if Assange is convicted, it will open the door to threatening news organizations and their reporters with prison if they ignore government orders not to publish information even in the public interest,” he explained, adding that is very alarmed by “the impact of this case on press freedom“.
The Australian authorities are also demanding an end to the persecution of their citizen, and a Government spokesperson reiterated their view that “Mr. Assange’s case has dragged on too long and should be closed“The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have expressed this view to the UK and US governments, and we will continue to do so,” he promised.
According to the spokesperson, the Australian Government will continue to fight so that Assange “has the right to due process, humane and fair treatment, access to adequate medical care and his legal team.”
The Assange case
Assange was held in London’s Belmarsh prison in 2019 after the then president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, allowed his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the British capital, where the Australian journalist had remained in asylum for seven years, since June 2012.
The founder of WikiLeaks is accused in the US for the publication of hundreds of thousands of pages of secret military documents and confidential diplomatic cables on Washington’s activities in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which were disseminated through his leaks portal . They ask for him 175 years in prison.
In June 2022, British Justice approved his extradition to the USA, a decision that was validated by the Government of the United Kingdom. The measure, at the moment, has not been finalized due to the appeal presented by Assange, amid demands for justice by the international community and in favor of her release.