Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has received a new passport to replace an expired one after a lengthy approval process, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing the Consular and Crisis Management Division's first assistant secretary, Andrew Todd. The media outlet added that Assange had received a passport in September 2018, but remained unreported until recently.
Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, applied for a passport on the WikiLeaks founder's behalf in mid-2018, but the application was put "on hold" by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), citing ongoing legal proceedings against Assange in the UK due to his breach of bail conditions. According to the Australian Passport Act, "serious foreign offence" could prevent the activist from obtaining a new passport.
Julian Assange is currently facing the prospect of being forced to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has spent over six years hiding after being released on bail by a UK court due to facing rape accusations in Sweden. The latter country lifted the charges in 2017, but Assange could still be arrested by British authorities for violating the bail conditions by taking refuge in the embassy.
The WikiLeaks founder fears that he would be arrested by UK police upon leaving his hideout and subsequently extradited to the US for his part in publishing numerous secret documents of the American government on his website.