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Australia PM frustrated over detention of Julian Assange

May 5, 2023

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently fighting his extradition from the UK to the US. Australian PM Anthony Albanese said "nothing is served" by Assange's ongoing incarceration.

Protesters in the UK urge the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Assange supporters say his detention is an infringement on press freedomImage: Niklas Halle'N/AFP/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday expressed frustration over the continued incarceration of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

"Enough is enough, this needs to be brought to a conclusion, it needs to be worked through," said Albanese while pointing out his concern for the Australian citizen's mental health.

Albanese has been advocating for Assange's release. Assange would face about 175 years in a maximum security prison if extradited to the United States.

Europe's press freedom at risk?

Albanese: 'Nothing is served' by Assange's incarceration

Assange was charged by the US for conspiring with former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a massive trove of classified material in 2010.

Washington said that the leaks put many lives in danger.

Albanese said that Australians were failing to understand the reason for freeing Manning, who leaked the documents to Assange, while the Wikileaks founder remains in prison.

Albanese explained that while he had "issues" with what Assange did, "nothing is served" by his ongoing time in prison.

"The US administration is certainly very aware of what the Australian government's position is," he told ABC television based in London.

The Australian prime minister had raised the issue during his meetings with the US officials in November.

He did not confirm if he would raise it with US President Joe Biden during his visit to Sydney on May 24 for the Quad Leaders' summit.

"The way that diplomacy works ... is probably not to forecast the discussions that you will have," Albanese said.

Assange fights to avoid extradition

Assange is currently in London's Belmarsh prison.

British police arrested Assange in April 2019 for failing to surrender to an earlier warrant linked to Swedish charges which were eventually dropped.

UK approves Assange extradition to US

Before that, Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years. He is currently fighting a legal battle to avoid his extradition from Britain to the US, with protesters and press freedom advocates urging Assange's release.

ns/wd (Reuters, dpa)