Australian Deputy Prime Minister Questions Assange Extradition Ruling

© AP Photo / Francisco SecoA man holds a photograph of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a protest demanding the freedom of Assange in front of the UK embassy in Brussels, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020
A man holds a photograph of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a protest demanding the freedom of Assange in front of the UK embassy in Brussels, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - There are no reasons for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition, since the whistleblower, an Australian national, did not breach any Australian laws and was not in the US when leaked data was published, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wrote on Tuesday.

"Assange did not steal any US secret files, US citizen Chelsea Manning did. Assange did publish them. In Australia, he received a Walkley Award in journalism for it. Assange was not in breach of any Australian laws at the time of his actions. Assange was not in the US when the event being deliberated in a court now in London occurred. The question is then: why is he to be extradited to the US? If he insulted the Koran, would he be extradited to Saudi Arabia?", Joyce wrote in an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Joyce noted that for Canberra, Assange's case is a question of protection and fair judgment for its citizen and called for either trying Assange on British soil or sending him back to Australia.
On Friday, the London High Court ruled in favour of the appeal to extradite Assange, dismissing concerns raised about the journalist's health and the inhumane conditions he might face in the American prison system. The case will now be remitted to the Westminster Magistrates' Court, after which it will be sent to the secretary of state, who will decide on extradition.
The whistleblower is wanted by the United States on espionage charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified documents that shed light on war crimes committed by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. If put on trial and convicted in the US, the Australian journalist faces up to 175 years in prison.
Assange has been on remand at Belmarsh high-security prison in southeast London since October 2020, after serving an 11-month sentence for breaking bail for staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years.
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