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Julian Assange’s family pleads for unity

Advocates for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shouldn’t disparage the Australian government as it attempts to secure his release, his mother says.

December 7, 2022
By Alex Mitchell
7 December 2022

Julian Assange’s family wants supporters of the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder to politely advocate for his release, rather than “disparaging” the Australian government.

Endorsing the approach of “quiet diplomacy” and thanking Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for a supportive statement in parliament last week, Mr Assange’s mother Christine called on backers to unite in their support of the government’s efforts to bring her son home.

Mr Assange is facing espionage charges in the US and remains in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he’s been since 2019 while fighting extradition.

Ms Assange asked advocates to “support and not thwart or disparage the efforts of the Australian government in their diplomatic efforts to bring Julian safely home”.

“Diplomatic negotiations at this level are not easy. They require a high level of skill, experience, understanding, mutual respect, time and patience,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Please continue to politely inform your politicians, media and the general public of the facts of Julian’s plight to raise public and political support for the Australian government’s diplomatic efforts.”

Mr Albanese has previously opted for quiet diplomacy in his efforts to secure the 51-year-old Australian’s release, but told parliament last week he had raised the matter personally with US government officials.

“My position is clear, and has been made clear to the US administration, it is time this matter be brought to a close,” he said.

“This is an Australian citizen … what is the point of continuing this legal action, which could be caught up now for many years into the future.”

Ms Assange thanked the PM for the government’s commitment to bring the “12-year legal stalemate and suffering to an end”.

“His simple but compassionate statement ‘enough is enough’ resonates with the hearts of people around the world,” she said.

“I endorse quiet diplomacy as the Australian government’s preferred path for reaching a resolution … to date all other methods have failed.

“The involvement of diplomatic teams negotiating at a high level is the most appropriate and historically the most successful way to resolve the detention of Australian citizens overseas in political cases.”

Factoring in another seven years spent in London’s Ecuadorian embassy facing charges in Sweden, Mr Assange has spent more than a decade fighting extradition.

He has appealed the UK’s decision to allow his extradition to the US in both London’s High Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

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