Can’t protect Julian Assange: Australia

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the US has said nothing to indicate they`re planning Julian Assange`s indictment.

Zeenews Bureau

Canberra: Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday said that Canberra cannot guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from other countries` justice systems.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he had discussed the concerns of the Australian activist and his family with US officials.

Assange claims that the US has already secretly indicted him for divulging American secrets, and will act on the indictment if Sweden succeeds in extraditing him from Britain.

"The United States has said nothing to indicate they`re planning an indictment," Carr told reporters.

Assange supporters want Australia to seek US assurances that the former computer hacker won`t be charged. His release of a quarter-million classified US State Department cables in 2010 outraged Washington and destabilised American diplomacy worldwide.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Parliament on Thursday that if the United States did extradite Assange, the "Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other countries”.

She endorsed Carr`s comments, saying there was no advice from Washington that there was an indictment or a decision made to extradite.

Britain`s Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed Assange`s extradition to Sweden, bringing him a big step closer to prosecution in a Scandinavian court.
But a question mark hung over the decision after Assange`s lawyer made the highly unusual suggestion that she would try to reopen the case, raising the prospect of more legal wrangling.

Assange has spent almost two years fighting attempts to send him to Sweden, where he is wanted over sex crime allegations. He has yet to be charged.
He and his supporters have suggested that the sex allegations are a cover for a planned move to extradite him to the United States, but US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich denied that the United States had any interest in Sweden`s extradition bid succeeding.

"It`s one of those narratives that has been made up. There`s nothing to it," Bleich said late Wednesday.

Australian authorities have cooperated with the United States in investigating WikiLeaks` conduct. The Australians have concluded that Assange has broken no Australian law.

(With Agency inputs)

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