Australia cannot protect Assange: Julia Gillard
CANBERRA, May 31, 2012 – Australia cannot protect its citizen Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks whistleblower website, from the justice system of other countries, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Thursday.
The remarks came even as Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he had discussed the concerns of the activist and his family with US officials following Assange claims that America had already secretly indicted him for divulging almost a quarter-million classified US State Department cables in 2010 that outraged Washington.
Assange fears that the US will act on the indictment if Sweden, where he is wanted over alleged sex crimes, succeeds in extraditing him from Britain.
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Assange can be extradited to Sweden, bringing the activist a step closer to prosecution in a Scandinavian court.
Carr told reporters, “The US has said nothing to indicate they’re planning an indictment” of Assange.
His supporters want Australia to seek US assurances that the activist won’t be charged.
But Gillard told Parliament that if the US did extradite Assange, the “Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other countries”.
She however endorsed Carr’s remarks and said nothing was suggestive that there was an indictment or a decision made to extradite Assange to the US.
Assange has been fighting for almost two years now the attempts to send him to Sweden. He and his supporters have dismissed the sex allegations as a cover for a planned move to extradite him to the US.
US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich also denied that America had any interest in Sweden’s extradition bid succeeding. “It’s one of those narratives that have been made up. There’s nothing to it.”