Australian PM welcomes U.S. president’s consideration of dropping Assange prosecution

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has welcomed news that U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a request to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Albanese on Thursday said he was encouraged by Biden’s comments in Washington on Wednesday local time that the United States is considering Australia’s plea to drop the prosecution of Assange over the 2010 release of confidential military records and diplomatic cables.

“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 United Kingdom to the United States to face trial for the 2010 leaks.

The UK High Court in March asked the United States 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 Member of Parliament (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.

Source: Xinhua

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