Julian Assange’s supporters will urge the US to drop the prosecution of the Australian citizen on the basis the “very dangerous” precedent will be exploited by China and Russia. From a report: Six Australian politicians are expected to focus on freedom-of-speech arguments when they fly to Washington DC later this month to warn against extraditing the WikiLeaks founder from the UK. The MPs and senators from across the political spectrum are aiming to help build momentum for the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to raise the case in bilateral talks with Joe Biden at the White House in late October. The trip is being funded by the Assange campaign.
Assange remains in Belmarsh prison in London as he fights a US attempt to extradite him to face charges in connection with the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as well as diplomatic cables. Greg Barns SC, an adviser to the Assange campaign, said on Tuesday that it was “not an ordinary run-of-the-mill extradition case.” He said freedom of speech was “an important theme in the US.”
“You’ve got China chasing journalists around the world, and you’ve got the Russians who have recently arrested journalists,” Barns told Guardian Australia. “You’ve now got China using the Assange case as a sort of moral equivalence argument. So the message [of the Australian delegation] is going to be: this is very dangerous for journalists around the world and a race to the bottom that’s going on.”