US has no plans to extradite Assange: Carrabc.net.au | Jun 24th 2012 11:33 AM
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The Federal Government says there is no evidence to suggest Julian Assange will eventually be extradited to America to face trial for divulging US state secrets.
The WikiLeaks founder is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as his bid for political asylum is considered.
He is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning on sex abuse allegations, and also fears Stockholm will turn him over to the United States.
WikiLeaks enraged Washington by releasing a flood of classified information and diplomatic cables in 2010, and Mr Assange says America wants to try him for leaking the documents.
But Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has told the ABC's Insiders program that is not the case.
"When I've raised it and I think I have raised it on two occasions with US officials, I've received no hint that they've got a plan to extradite him to the US," Senator Carr said.
"There was one allegation that appeared somewhere of something called a sealed indictment. No US figure has confirmed that to us.
"What I've said to a senior US official [is that] Assange is an Australian citizen. We've got an interest in this. Have you got plans to extradite him?
"They haven't said they have plans to extradite him. They haven't been able to rule out that one corner of the American administration might not be considering it, but I would expect that the US would not want to touch this."
Senator Carr says if America did seek to extradite Mr Assange, Australia would step in.
"That would be a position we'd take when we heard that the US had the remotest interest in touching him. They know we're concerned about it," he said.
"They know we don't want an extradition of Assange from anywhere. They know that's the well-worn Australian position."
Last week Mr Assange slammed the Government, saying he has not been receiving ongoing consular assistance.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard denied that claim - a stance Senator Carr today repeated.
Senator Carr says Mr Assange is receiving the same amount of assistance as any other Australian.
'Profound moral questions'
Senator Carr says while he has no personal view of Mr Assange, WikiLeaks' release of cables raises important questions.
"I would say that releasing a whole batch of secret material without assessment and without justification raises profound moral questions," he said.
"For example, if that secret material reveals secret talks between an American diplomat in the Middle East and a politician in the Arab world, and the release of the material puts at risk the life of the Arab politician for simply talking to Americans, then that's a very worrying concern. That has been raised with Assange. His response has been, 'well, so be it'.
"There's an amorality about what's been at work here. Secrets being released for the sake of being released without inherent justification. But that said, we will take a position to defend an Australian citizen if faced with an extradition request that hasn't got justification."
It remains unknown if Mr Assange, 40, will be granted asylum in Ecuador.
Even if he is, British police say they will arrest him for being in breach of his bail conditions as soon as he sets foot outside the embassy.
Mr Assange was on $315,000 bail, which included the condition he spend nights at home.
Topics: foreign-affairs, world-politics, government-and-politics, information-and-communication, internet-culture, defence-and-national-security, security-intelligence, australia, sweden, united-states
First posted June 24, 2012 10:40:28
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