Australia cannot prevent Assange`s extradition
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is holed up in Ecuador`s embassy in London and is seeking asylum in the South American nation.
Sydney: The Australian Government cannot prevent the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden and the United States, the country`s Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has said.
If Assange had been living in Australia, he could have had access to the usual judicial and parliamentary processes to fight extradition, she said. But as he is living abroad, the government`s hands are largely tied, Roxon added.
"If Mr Assange isn`t in Australia, the fact that he`s an Australian citizen, doesn`t give us rights to intervene in the same way in the legal process," The Age quoted Roxon, as saying. "Of course we would continue all the diplomatic representations ... Mr Assange is entitled to all of that full protection in the way any other Australian citizen is," Roxon added.
Assange is holed up in Ecuador`s embassy in London and is seeking asylum in the South American nation to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of sexual assault. He fears being extradited to the US to face charges over WikiLeaks` release of masses of US military and diplomatic documents into the public domain.
Roxon, who has faced personal criticism for the government`s perceived inaction, said Australians need to moderate their expectations of what the government can and cannot do for Assange.
"I think people are just a little bit misguided about what our role is here and what we can do. Passions run very high on Mr Assange`s case," she said.
"I don`t see him as a hero, or a terrorist. I see him as someone who did something he believes in, she added. "But the bottom line here, is if you travel overseas, you are subject to the laws of other countries," Roxon said.