Consular assistance available to Assange: Australia

Last Updated: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 17:07

Melbourne: Australia on Friday said that consular assistance is still available to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was granted asylum by Ecuador and is currently holed up in the South American country`s embassy in London.

"Julian Assange is an Australian citizen ...If he wants consular support, it`s offered, it`s available," Environment Minister Tony Burke said today.

According to an AAP report, Burke said consular assistance would still be available to the 41-year-old Assange if he asked for it.

"The offer of consular assistance is still there," he said.

The minister further said that Assange however had not contacted the officials.

The Australian government had not yet had any contact with Ecuadorian officials about the diplomatic stand-off, he said.

"We`ve put some calls in this morning but we haven`t been able to confirm that any contact has been made," Burke said.

Meanwhile, Assange`s defence team member Geoffrey Robertson told local media here that Australia should help him in escaping Ecuador`s London embassy.

"The Ecuadorians have been questioning the Americans, the Swedes and the British but the obvious country, the country of Assange`s nationality, hasn`t been involved," Human Rights lawyer Robertson said.

"So it may be an opportunity for Australia to get involved on behalf of its national and see if it can square this circle," he added.

Robertson said well-intentioned people wanted Assange to face the allegations in Sweden as long as there wasn`t a risk that he`d be transferred to the US.

Ecuador yesterday granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, setting stage for an unprecedented diplomatic stand-off with the UK, which has threatened to extradite him to Sweden come what may.

Assange dramatically sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to evade extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges.

Assange has ruffled many feathers by publishing classified diplomatic correspondence of the United States and other countries.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 17:07

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