Julian Assange’s mother has picketed the Melbourne office of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her fight to ensure he won’t be extradited to the United States.
Christine Assange stood outside Ms Gillard’s electorate office in south-western Melbourne on Friday, carrying a sign reading “Save Julian Assange from torture in prison, no extradition”.
Britain’s High Court in London on Wednesday upheld a ruling that Assange should be sent to face questioning by Swedish authorities over claims of sexual assault against two women.
Assange has expressed fears that US authorities will request his extradition from Sweden to face charges relating to his whistleblower website WikiLeaks obtaining and publishing hundreds of thousands of classified US government documents.
Ms Assange said her son was “more than happy” to be interviewed by Swedish authorities but that it should occur at the Swedish embassy in London, in line with normal protocol for European arrest warrants.
“The problem is we can’t categorically say why the Swedes are doing it,” she told AAP.
“If they are out to get him to help America then almost nothing they’re going to do is going to work because their motive’s wrong.
“They’re saying that’s not what they’re doing.
“But if they are bona fide and just want to clear all this up, why aren’t they interviewing him at the embassy?
“Even judges in Sweden have come out and said this case is not running normally.
“The concern is that the Swedish case is a holding case while the Virginian grand jury come forward with an indictment to take him to America.”
Ms Assange said her son had not been charged or interviewed about the rape allegation, and believes if he was interviewed in Britain the case would be thrown out owing to lack of evidence.
“That’s why they don’t want to do it, because if they interview him they’ll find out that they’ve got nothing,” she said.
Ms Assange said the federal government must follow its own diplomatic and legal advice that her son was in “clear and present danger” and seek written guarantees he wouldn’t be extradited to the US.
“Most people in Australia are angry about what’s happening to Julian and angry the government’s not doing anything,” she said.
Assange’s lawyers have up to 21 days to decide whether to try to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court, the last court of appeal in the UK.