A prominent Australian critic of Julian Assange has issued a new warning about the detained WikiLeaks founder.
A leading foreign policy analyst and prominent critic of Julian Assange has said the detained WikiLeaks founder should not be the Australian government’s “only priority”.
The Lowy Institute’s executive director, Michael Fullilove, has urged the Albanian government to exercise caution if it intervenes in Mr Assange’s impending extradition to the United States.
Anthony Albanese said earlier this week he would not intervene publicly after the UK Home Office ordered Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, where he is wanted on charges of espionage and faces a sentence 170 years in prison.
However, the Prime Minister said his stance had not changed since he said in December that he “sees no point” in the “ongoing prosecution” by US authorities against Mr Assange.
Mr Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal his extradition to the UK courts.
Asked about it on Wednesday, Dr Fullilove would not be determined whether he thought Australia should intervene in the case.
“I think every Australian who has problems overseas deserves the support of the Australian government,” he told the National Press Club.
“I happen to think Mr. Assange’s case is a bit more complicated than all the media allow. There’s probably no reason for me to get into that.
Over the past decade, Dr. Fullilove has lambasted Mr. Assange and his WikiLeaks website, which published leaked government documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as classified diplomatic cables.
He used his verified Twitter account, on which he identifies himself as the executive director of the Lowy Institute, to criticize an imprisoned Mr Assange in 2019.
“Poor Mr. Assange. No longer able to dodge the consequences of his actions. To finally have to live by the rules that apply to all the others, ”wrote Dr. Fullilove at the time.
In 2011, Dr. Fullilove wrote a magazine article in which he compared WikiLeaks’ reasoning to that of the famous British tabloid News of the World.
As protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in Canberra on Wednesday to demand Mr Assange’s release, Dr Fullilove said Australia should consider the ramifications of its alliance with Washington.
“The United States is a proud democracy. They have prosecutors, they have the rule of law, they have prosecutors who review evidence and don’t take political instructions from the White House well,” he said.
“I think Australia needs to be careful about that element, just as we would be a bit skittish about someone trying to resent us about our legal proceedings.
“That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of room for the Australian government to make representations on its behalf.”
Dr Fullilove urged people to remember that there are other Australians detained overseas, such as journalist Cheng Lei in China.
“I don’t wish Mr Assange any harm, but I would like to get questions about other struggling Australians more often.”
The Albanian government said it would not conduct “megaphone diplomacy” and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would provide consular assistance to Mr Assange.