« A group of Australian politicians spanning various parties converged in Washington DC on Wednesday to request the US government’s abandonment of the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is facing charges related to the publication of classified US military documents.
The delegation, which included former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and others, brought a letter signed by over 60 Australian parliament members urging the US to drop the charges. Assange is currently fighting extradition to the US, facing potential imprisonment for up to 175 years if convicted.
« We did not come here to pick a fight, » said Barnaby Joyce. « We came here to present a case and to lobby for an outcome. And this is part of the process of making sure that people are aware of all the facts and the wider facts as we also have grown to know, » he added.
« The fact that it is an Australian citizen, that is being targeted by one of our closest friends and ally, is a very real concern to us as politicians and to a growing part of the Australian public. More than 85 percent of the Australian public, close to 90 percent of the Australian public, says that Julian Assange should come home, » added David Shoebridge, Senator of Australia.
The delegation also emphasised their unity across political lines and their belief that Assange should be allowed to return to Australia, characterising him as a journalist committed to truth-telling. Critics argue WikiLeaks endangered lives, but the delegation disputes these claims.
The WikiLeaks founder has been imprisoned in the UK since 2019, where he is awaiting a final hearing of his appeal against the British government’s decision to extradite him to the United States.
He faces charges in the US for releasing over 700,000 confidential documents on American military and diplomatic actions, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, starting in 2010. »