The Sydney Morning Herald on December 19, 2011 released the following:
“THE former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and dozens of public figures have called on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, to ensure the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is protected from ”rendition” to the US.
They warn that if Assange is extradited from Britain to Sweden, where he may face rape and sexual assault charges, he could then be handed over to the US, where prosecutors are considering criminal charges against him following the release of confidential cables.
”The chances of Mr Assange receiving a fair trial in the United States appear remote. A number of prominent political figures have called for him to be assassinated, and the Vice-President has called him a ‘high-tech terrorist’,” their open letter reads.
”Given the atmosphere of hostility in relation to Mr Assange, we hold serious concerns about his safety once in US custody. We note that Mr Assange is an Australian citizen, whose journalistic activities were undertaken entirely outside of US territory.”
Assange has been on bail in Britain for almost a year as he fights extradition to Sweden, where two women have alleged he committed sexual offences against them. He has denied the claims, and last week won the right to appeal against the extradition.
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”.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked the thousands of secret cables, faced the first day of a preliminary hearing on Friday to determine whether he should be court-martialled over the leaks.
Private Manning’s lawyer told the court that the government wanted the 24-year-old soldier to agree to plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence so he could be used as a witness against Assange and WikiLeaks. Lawyers for Assange were in the courtroom during the first day of the pre-trial hearing, and have asked for access to the court for the duration of the proceedings.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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