Australia says Assange is ‘free to return home’ if US extradition appeal fails
Australia’s prime minister said Tuesday that his government would allow Julian Assange to return home should efforts fail to extradite the WikiLeaks founder from London to face charges in the U.S.
Reuters reported that Scott Morrison made the remarks during a radio interview, telling the hosts that he had no inside information on Assange’s legal battles but adding that Australian consulate services are available to him and all other Australians.
“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 said.
“So, yes, it’s just a straightforward process of the legal system in the U.K. working its way through,” he continued, according to Reuters.
Assange faces espionage charges in the U.S. over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential documents related to U.S. involvement in the Iraq War that exposed wrongdoing in the Middle East, including the killing of civilians.
U.S. efforts to extradite him were dealt a blow on Monday when a British judge blocked the move, saying that the long-confined Assange was now a suicide risk and citing the death of Jeffrey Epstein in federal custody as evidence. Prosecutors plan to appeal that decision.
Assange has remained in U.K. custody for months following his eviction from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was previously sheltered for years.
Mexico’s government also extended an offer of asylum on Monday.
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