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Aussies call for government to save Assange

by on19 December 2011

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Fear he could be extradited to the US

A high-profile bunch of Aussies have called for their government to step in to prevent Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from being extradited to the US. Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and dozens of public figures have called on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, to ensure the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is protected from ''rendition'' to the US.

The fear is that if Assange is extradited from Britain to Sweden, where he may face rape and sexual assault charges, he could then be handed over to the US. In an open letter to Rudd, the prominent names have pointed out that the chances of Assange getting a fair trial in the United States are remote. Already top Republicans have called for him to be assassinated, and the Vice-President has called him a 'high-tech terrorist'.

"Given the atmosphere of hostility in relation to Mr Assange, we hold serious concerns about his safety once in US custody. We note that Mr. Assange is an Australian citizen, whose journalistic activities were undertaken entirely outside of US territory." Those who signed the letter include American academic Noam Chomsky, Julian Burnside, QC, and the Greens leader Bob Brown. It is not clear why they think Sweden would hand Assange over to the US without the "appropriate legal processes that accompany normal extradition cases" but it is possible.

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