Skip to main content

Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has described the continued detention of Julian Assange as unfathomable, cruel and entirely unnecessary.

Mr Assange’s bail application has been denied just days after a British judge rejected the request to extradite him to the United States to face espionage charges. The US is set to appeal against the extradition ruling, which cited grave concerns for the WikiLeaks founder’s mental health.

“This is an unfathomable and cruel turn of events,” Mr Wilkie said of the bail decision. “The extradition of Mr Assange has already been denied and further detention clearly compounds the risk to his precarious mental health. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has clearly ruled already that detention in HMP Belmarsh constitutes psychological torture. And going into a supermax prison in the US for as long as 175 years would obviously be a death sentence.

“Moreover, continued detention in Belmarsh is entirely unnecessary when Mr Assange could stay with his family in London, post a substantial bail if necessary and even wear some sort of tracking device. The man is hardly a flight risk from his loving family.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison must get on the phone to US President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden and say ‘Let’s just rule a line under this, drop the charges, pardon him if that’s what’s needed and let him come home’.

“Why is this even in court? Only because the US wants to get even and London and Canberra are happy to go along for the ride. Frankly it’s gone on long enough and it’s in no one’s interests to let it go on any longer.”