Australian PM welcomes US Prez’s consideration of dropping prosecution of WikiLeaks founder

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday welcomed news that US President Joe Biden is considering a request to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Albanese expressed encouragement after Biden’s remark in Washington that the US is mulling over Australia’s request to drop the charges against Assange for the release of confidential records in 2010, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I believe this must be brought to a conclusion and that Mr. Assange has already paid a significant price and enough is enough,” Albanese told state media Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television.

“There’s nothing to be gained by Mr. Assange’s continued incarceration, in my very strong view.”

An Australian citizen who founded WikiLeaks in Australia in 2006, Assange is currently trying to appeal his extradition from the UK to the US to face trial for the 2010 leaks.

The UK High Court in March asked the US for assurances that Assange would have a fair trial and not face the death penalty if convicted before making a final decision in May on whether he can appeal the extradition order.

Albanese in February supported a motion raised in the federal parliament by independent MP Andrew Wilkie calling for Assange’s return to Australia.

Wilkie was among a delegation of MPs who in September traveled to Washington where they urged politicians and officials to abandon extradition efforts for Assange.

On Thursday, Wilkie told ABC radio that Biden’s comment was very encouraging.

IANS

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