Julian Assange: Stella Morris slams extradition decision
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Barnaby Joyce urged the UK not to extradite the WikiLeaks co-founder to the US. The leading Australian politician instead called for Assange to either be tried in the UK or returned to his native Australia.
It comes as Assange’s mother, Christine Assange compared the pain of giving birth to the WikiLeaks founder to that of watching the 50-year-old smeared around the world.
She wrote in an open letter: “Fifty years ago in giving birth for the first time as a young mother, I thought there could be no greater pain. But it was soon forgotten when I held my beautiful baby boy in my arms.
“I realise now that I was wrong. There is a great pain.
“The unending gut-wrenching pain of being the mother of a multi-award winning journalist who had the courage to publish the truth about high level government crimes and corruption.
“The pain of watching my son, who sought to publish important truths, being endlessly globally smeared.
“The pain of watching my son who risked his life to expose injustice, being fitted up and denied a fair legal process, over and over again”.
She goes on to relay her pain and anguish at seeing her son’s health deteriorate, and “cruelly psychologically tortured” to break his spirit as well as the “constant nightmare” of his being extradited and “buried alive in extreme solitary confinement”.
Ms Assange adds: “Many people are also traumatised by seeing a vengeful superpower using its unlimited resources to bully and destroy a single defenceless individual”.
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The High Court ruled last week Assange could be extradited to the US over espionage charges linked to the publication of leaked documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011.
In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Joyce questioned how Assange could be tried in the US when he was not in that country at the time WikiLeaks published and had not stolen the secret files.
The MP for New England, in New South Wales, added Assange was also not in breach of any Australian laws in place at that time.
He wrote: “As an individual, whether you like him or despise him, it is beyond him, given his circumstances, to protect his rights by himself.
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“So we must hope for the British courts to do so, and we will judge its society accordingly”.
Two liberal MPs from Australia, Jason Falinski and Bridget Archer, have backed calls for diplomatic action
Mr Falinski told Guardian Australia that the government had to do what it can to get an Australian citizen back to the country as quickly as possible.
However, the same publication reports that Mr Falinski suggested diplomats were working behind the scenes to gain concessions from the US.
Ms Archer told Guardian Australia Assange is an Australian citizen who continues to suffer significant mental and physical health issues as a result of his ongoing incarceration because of the protracted legal battle.
She said: “He should be released and returned to Australia.”
Assange has spent the past two years inside Belmarsh Prison after almost 10 years in hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
At the weekend, his fiancee Stella Morris accused UK authorities of playing the role of “executioner” after Assange suffered a mini-stroke in prison.
Assange’s legal team has vowed to appeal against last Friday’s High Court ruling.
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