Australian PM demands Julian Assange Belmarsh releaseLegacy

Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese demanded the immediate release of political prisoner Julian Assange from London’s Belmarsh Prison.

The 60 year old PM, alongside the Australian Parliament, spearheaded a motion urging the United States and the United Kingdom to release Assange from what they deem as trumped-up espionage charges, just ahead of a pivotal legal hearing.

The 52 year old Australian citizen currently held in London’s Belmarsh Prison, is set to face the UK’s High Court next week for his final appeal against US extradition. The charges he faces in the US carry a potential sentence of up to 175 years in prison, a prospect that has spurred a 86-42 vote by Australian MPs in favour of allowing the Townsville-born journalist to return home.

Prime Minister Albanese, a vocal supporter of the motion, emphasised the necessity for a resolution in the Assange case since his assumption of office in 2022. He has actively engaged with US President Joe Biden on the matter, raising it during a state visit in October, following a bipartisan delegation of Australian MPs to Washington lobbying for Assange’s freedom.

The founder of WikiLeaks is accused of publishing thousands of classified documents between 2010 and 2011, a move American authorities assert violated the law and endangered lives. Assange contends that the charges against him are politically motivated, with his legal team warning of the risk of suicide should he be extradited to the US.

In 2021, a UK judge halted Assange’s extradition, citing concerns for his mental health. However, the High Court overturned this decision in 2022, approving the US extradition request. This decision, authorised by then Home Secretary Priti Patel, prompted Assange’s renewed legal appeal.

Despite ongoing efforts by Assange’s family and supporters urging the Australian government to intensify its efforts for his release, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has reiterated the government’s steadfast stance. Dreyfus recently discussed the matter with US counterpart Merrick Garland in Washington, affirming Australia’s stance that it is time to bring an end to the prolonged legal saga.

Assange has been confined to the high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019, following a seven-year asylum stint in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The story Australian PM demands Julian Assange Belmarsh release as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Bob Scott