Julian Assange case has ‘dragged on for too long’, Australia’s Wong says

Julian Assange case has ‘dragged on for too long’, Australia’s Wong says

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressed her concern on Saturday about the prolonged case of imprisoned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and emphasized the need for its resolution. Assange, an Australian citizen currently held in Britain, is fighting against extradition to the United States, where he faces 18 charges related to the release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables in 2010.

During a press conference in Brisbane following an Australia-U.S. meeting, Wong stated that Canberra has made it clear that Assange’s case has been drawn out for too long and that they desire a conclusion. She was accompanied by Defence Minister Richard Marles, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Wong mentioned that representations have been made on Assange’s behalf, both publicly and privately, but emphasized that there are limitations on what can be done until his legal proceedings are finalized.

Wong acknowledged that Assange has filed a renewal of appeal application in the UK, but clarified that the Australian government is not involved in these legal proceedings and cannot intervene. Blinken confirmed that Assange’s case was discussed during the bilateral talks, acknowledging the sensitivity of the issue and understanding the views of Australians.

During the press conference, Blinken highlighted the seriousness of the charges against Assange, stating that he was accused of engaging in significant criminal conduct that jeopardized national security by compromising classified information. He emphasized the potential harm that Assange’s alleged actions could have caused.

Australia is actively supporting efforts to secure Assange’s release before any potential extradition to the U.S. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his frustration with the ongoing detention in May.

The article was reported by Sam McKeith in Sydney and edited by William Mallard, adhering to The Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles.

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