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Government and Opposition throw Assange to the wolves

The Labor Government and the Coalition today refused to back a call from the Australian Greens to ensure the legal rights of Julian Assange are protected and that the Australian citizen is not extradited to the United States.

Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam moved the motion in light of the pending decision on the WikiLeaks' editor's possible extradition to Sweden, and it was rejected by the Government and Opposition.

"If Mr Assange is sent to Sweden for questioning on alleged offences unrelated to the work of WikiLeaks, the Australian Government should ensure he is not then shuttled to the United States to face concocted political charges under the draconian, First World War-era Espionage Act, aimed at destroying the whistle-blowing website."

Senator Ludlam's motion also called on the government to ensure that the consular and legal rights of all Australian citizens overseas are fully protected.

"The US Government has been embarrassed by a number of revelations made public by WikiLeaks - including evidence of American soldiers in Iraq deliberately targeting civilians and journalists. Washington has successfully pressured companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union to block donations to WikiLeaks to strangle the site - despite the donations funding perfectly legal activity. As editor-in-chief of the site, Mr Assange is clearly a target.

"The Australian Federal Police have investigated WikiLeaks and found Mr Assange has broken no Australian laws, and he has yet to be charged with an offence in Sweden or the USA. The Government owes him every effort to ensure his rights as a citizen of this country are protected."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302



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