Biden ‘considering’ request to drop Assange charges

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Julian AssangeImage source, PA Media

US President Joe Biden has said that he is considering Australia’s request to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.

The country’s parliament recently passed a measure – backed by PM Anthony Albanese – calling for the return of Mr Assange to his native Australia.

The US wants to extradite Mr Assange from the UK on criminal charges over the leaking of military records,

Mr Assange denies the charges, saying the leaks were an act of journalism.

When asked on Wednesday whether he had a response to Australia’s request, Mr Biden said: “We’re considering it.”

Mr Assange, 52, is being held in Belmarsh prison and is fighting his extradition in the UK courts.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, directed at Biden, Mr Assange’s wife said: “Do the right thing. Drop the charges.”

Mr Assange’s extradition was put on hold in March after London’s High Court said the United States must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty.

US prosecutors want to try Mr Assange on 18 counts, almost all under the Espionage Act, over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After Britain gave the go-ahead for his extradition last year, Mr Assange’s lawyers in February launched a final attempt in the English courts to challenge his removal.

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