Australian MPs have no doubt Assange held as ‘political prisoner’
Two Australian MPs who have visited Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a high-security prison in the British capital, London, have described him as a “political prisoner,” expressing doubt that the whistleblower can receive a fair trial in the United States, where he is wanted for publishing classified US documents incriminating America in potential war crimes.
According to Press TV, on Tuesday, Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison in east London in an attempt to check on his well-being and lobby for his release.
They said they had been left in “absolutely no doubt” that Assange was a “political prisoner,” adding that his detention for engaging in “legitimate journalistic practices” was “madness” in the first place.
“The US is determined to extradite Assange to get even,” Wilkie argued at the gates of Belmarsh, adding that the solution to bringing Assange’s incarceration to an end “must be political.”
He called the fact that the UK was even considering having a court case to consider Assange’s extradition to the US rather than telling the administration of US President Donald Trump to “back off” was simply “madness.”
Assange was arrested in London in April last year after he was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy — where he had taken refuge for seven years — due to pressure from Washington. The activist is still fighting the US bid to be extradited from Britain.
The 48-year-old Australian citizen is currently serving a 50-week sentence in the United Kingdom before he will be extradited to the US on espionage charges related to his work.
Assange used WikiLeaks to publish secret documents online, including classified military and diplomatic files in 2010 about US bombing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that proved highly embarrassing to the US government.