- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison affirmed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be receiving “special treatment” following his arrest and potential extradition to the US.
- Morrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the Australian-born citizen would be at the mercy of the judicial system overseas.
- “It doesn’t matter what particular crime it is they’ve alleged to have committed,” Morrison told ABC. “That’s the way the system works.”
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison affirmed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be receiving “special treatment” following his arrest and potential extradition to the US.
Morrison on Thursday told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Assange would be receiving the same consular assistance as other Australian citizens.
“When Australians travel overseas and they find themselves in difficulties with the law, well they face the judicial systems of those countries, it doesn’t matter what particular crime it is they’ve alleged to have committed,” Morrison told ABC. “That’s the way the system works.”
“Mr. Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment,” he said.
Australian-born Assange was arrested by UK police on Thursday morning at the Ecuadorean embassy where he had been holed up for nearly seven years. After his arrest, Assange was taken to court in London and was convicted on a charge of skipping bail in 2012.
US authorities charged Assange with conspiracy to hack classified US government information, The Washington Post reported, and the charges remained under seal until after his arrest. On Thursday, US law enforcement issued an extradition request in relation to Assange’s activities with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of leaking state secrets to WikiLeaks. (Manning’s sentence was later commuted by former President Barack Obama, however she was jailed again this year for refusing to testify before a grand jury.)
The 47-year-old Assange has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012, where he was granted asylum. The whistleblower faced allegations of sexual assault in Sweden before seeking protection inside the embassy.
Assange refused to step foot outside the embassy over fears of arrest. Ecuador granted citizenship to Assange in 2018, Reuters reported, as part of an effort to give Assange a pathway out of the embassy. But on Thursday, Ecuador revoked his political asylum, with President Lenín Moreno claiming that the country’s patience had “reached its limit.”
On May 2, he will appear in a London court via video regarding the extradition request.