Biden says US is considering Australia's request to end Assange prosecution

WikiLeaks publisher has spent years fighting extraditions to the US

Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gather outside Australia House in London to demand Australia supports its citizen in his bid for freedom. Getty Images
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President Joe Biden said his administration is considering a request by Australia for the US to end its prosecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

"We’re considering it," Mr Biden said outside the White House on Wednesday when asked about Australia's request.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in February backed a motion in parliament's lower house calling for the return of Mr Assange to Australia, where he is a citizen.

US officials are looking to extradite him from Britain to the US, where he is wanted on criminal charges over WikiLeaks' release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables.

Mr Assange, 52, is fighting extradition to the US, where he says he could face cruel punishment or solitary confinement.

He is charged over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Mr Assange has been indicted on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of the classified US documents almost 15 years ago.

American prosecutors allege he encouraged and helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published.

Updated: April 10, 2024, 4:12 PM