WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange will receive “no special treatment” from his home country following his dramatic arrest in Britain, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday. Assange’s seven-year hideout in Ecuador’s London embassy ended dramatically on Thursday when police dragged the WikiLeaks founder out of the building into a waiting van.
He was found guilty by a British court on Thursday of breaching his bail conditions in 2012 and faces a year in prison. But US authorities are seeking his extradition on charges relating to his work with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010, with the case to be heard on May 2.
Barely 24 hours into an official election campaign, Morrison said Assange would receive the same support as any other Australian in trouble overseas, and the extradition is a “matter for the United States”.
“Well it’s got nothing to do with us, it has got to do with the United States,” he told national broadcaster the ABC. “There’s a judicial process, and that will be followed across a range of matters here and I would expect that to follow. He will receive the same consular support as any other Australians would in these circumstances.” Morrison’s counterpart Bill Shorten, who is favourite to become Australia’s next prime minister following the May 18 election, also distanced himself from the case.
“It will be a matter for the legal system to proceed, he should receive the support any other Australian citizens should receive,” the opposition leader told reporters. “The matter is going before court so I don’t think there is much more I can add,” Shorten said.