Australia’s parliament recently approved a resolution advocating for the repatriation of Julian Assange to his home country, Australia, in anticipation of an impending appeal hearing for his extradition case at the High Court in London.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, along with 86 Members of Parliament voting in favor and 42 opposing, expressed a desire for an amicable resolution to the case. A crucial two-day final appeal hearing is scheduled for the following week, where the court will decide if Assange, aged 52, can continue presenting his case in UK courts or if he has exhausted all avenues, leading to extradition to the United States.

The founder of WikiLeaks faces charges in the United States related to an alleged conspiracy to acquire and disclose national defense information. These charges stem from the publication of a vast trove of leaked documents pertaining to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Assange vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Since his arrest in April 2019 after leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought political asylum in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault (later dropped in 2019), Assange has been detained in London’s Belmarsh prison.

In June 2022, the UK government approved Assange’s extradition to the US, where he could face a potential 175-year prison sentence, according to his supporters. His lawyer contends that Assange’s life is in jeopardy if the appeal proves unsuccessful.

Notably, artist Andrei Molodkin recently announced his intention to destroy masterpieces by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, and Andy Warhol with acid in the event of Assange’s death in prison.

Prime Minister Albanese has been urging the United States to withdraw the extradition request, emphasising Australia’s strong view that the involved countries should consider concluding the matter appropriately. Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus revealed that Assange’s extradition was discussed during a recent meeting with his US counterpart, Merrick Garland, in Washington, asserting the need for closure in the matter.

Addressing the Australian parliament before Assange’s appeal, Mr. Albanese stated, “It’s not up to Australia to interfere in the legal processes of other countries, but it is appropriate for us to put our very strong view that those countries need to take into account the need for this to be concluded.”

During a visit to Australia in the preceding year, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken characterised Assange’s alleged actions as “very serious criminal conduct” in the dissemination of classified US documents.

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