Julian Assange is “free to return home” to Australia once the legal challenges against him are solved, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday, after the UK court rejected a request to extradite the Wikileaks founder to the United States.
On Monday, a British judge blocked the United States’ extradition bid, where Julian Assange was due to face criminal charges including breaching a spying statute, saying his mental health issues meant he was at risk of suicide.
The U.S. Department of Justice said that Julian Assange will continue to seek extradition from prosecutors to appeal the decision to the High Court of London.
“Well, the justice system is making its way and we’re not a party to that. And like any Australian, they’re offered consular support and should, you know, the appeal fail, obviously he would be able to return to Australia like any other Australian,” Morrison told local radio station 2GB.
“So, yes, it’s just a straightforward process of the legal system in the UK working its way through.”
Julian Assange, 49, is accused by the United States of 18 offenses related to the release by WikiLeaks of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Assange’s supporters, however, see him as an anti-establishment hero who was victimized because in Afghanistan and Iraq he exposed U.S. wrongdoing and said his prosecution is a politically motivated assault on journalism and freedom of expression.
When it published a U.S. military video in 2010 showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, WikiLeaks came to prominence. Then it released thousands of classified secret files and diplomatic cables.
Mexican President ready to provide political asylum to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange
Officials in Mexico are ready to provide political asylum to Wikileaks’ co-founder Julian Assange after a British court ruled the Australian publisher won’t be extradited to the United States.
“I’m going to ask the foreign minister to carry out the relevant procedures to request that the UK government releases Mr. Assange and that Mexico offers him political asylum,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during a press briefing on Monday.
During Monday’s conference, López Obrador said he thinks Julian Assange “deserves a chance,” adding that he is “in favor of pardoning him” and the country is ready to “give him protection.”
The Mexican president also urged last year that Britain should release Julian Assange, calling his detention “torture” and saying WikiLeaks documents had exposed the world’s “authoritarian” workings.