House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Statements by Members

Assange, Mr Julian Paul

1:54 pm

Photo of Tony ZappiaTony Zappia (Makin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last month a British court rejected the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA because of concerns about his wellbeing. Notwithstanding the rejection, Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh Prison in what I understand are dreadful conditions that would very likely not meet human rights standards. Assange is reportedly in poor health. He has effectively been in detention for the past decade. He is accused of having accessed and published classified US documents. Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who provided the documents to Assange and who was convicted, had her sentence commuted by the US president in 2017.

The documents exposed US war crimes. There is a groundswell of opinion across the world, from eminent legal professionals, prominent civic leaders and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, that the pursuit of Julian Assange is politically motivated and that he should be released. This matter has dragged on for long enough. Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. If his health is so fragile that he should not be extradited to the US, then nor should he continue to languish inside Belmarsh prison. It is time that Julian Assange was set free.