Australia Will Not Contest Assange’s Possible Extradition

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Australia will not challenge the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, by the United Kingdom to the United States.

 

The government in Canberra has confidence in the British legal system, said Chancellor Simon Birmingham of the Exchequer.

Birmingham also said in a conversation with Australian broadcaster ABC that Assange still has the option to appeal and that Australia will continue to provide consular assistance to the imprisoned Assange.

A British court issued an extradition order on Wednesday, but it is the British home secretary who has the last word. Assange can appeal to her until May 18. If that does not happen and the minister agrees to the extradition, the Australian must be extradited within 28 days of the decision.

Assange has been trying to avoid trial in the US for more than a decade. Finally, however, the founder of the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks could be sentenced to 175 years in prison for publishing secret documents about, among other things, the American missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A group of 25 rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Reporters without Borders, say Assange’s extradition poses “a serious threat to press freedom, both in the United States and abroad.”

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