High-profile group calls on Govt to safeguard Assange’s legal rights

19 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM

A group of prominent Australians, including former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, have called on the Federal Government to safeguard the human rights of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In an open letter, they call on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to seek assurances from the Swedish and United States governments that Assange will be treated in line with basic international standards of due process. Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

He may also face possible prosecution in the US, following release of thousands of leaked classified government documents.

The signatories to the letter – who also include the American academic Noam Chomsky, Julian Burnside, QC, and the Greens leader Bob Brown – warn that Sweden could hand Assange over to the US without the ”appropriate legal processes that accompany normal extradition cases”.

The letter, which is also addressed to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, makes no comment about Assange’s innocence or otherwise in regard to the Swedish charges.

But it did say the allegations deserved appropriate investigation. However, the group calls on the government to state that all Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen will be protected.


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