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Greens call on government to protect the rights of Australian journalist

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 22 May 2017

The Australian Greens today called on the Turnbull government to finally stand up for Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and journalist persecuted for publishing.

"For seven years the Australian Greens have protested the inaccurate and prejudicial statement made about WikiLeaks and Mr Assange by the Gillard government, as well as the inaction of the Rudd, Abbott and Turnbull governments," Australian Greens Co-deputy leader and communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said.

"For seven years, Julian Assange has not received the diplomatic, legal and political assistance from his government that other citizens in trouble overseas have enjoyed.

"The US Department of Justice has indicated through statements from Attorney General Sessions and CIA Director Pompeo an intent to pursue prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing truthful information in the public interest. 

"Julian Assange has been recognised as a journalist by the Queen's Bench Division of the British High Court, Amnesty International, the Walkley Foundation, the Martha Gelhorn Trust, the National Union of Italian Journalists, the Spanish Jose Couso Press Freedom Award, among other eminent media and legal organisations. 

"The truths WikiLeaks has shown us indicate an abuse of the discretion and trust extended to governments, a business-as-usual secrecy that has corroded our democracy.  Such truths are a wake-up call, as well as an opportunity for reform.

"Malcolm Turnbull once said of the attacks on Assange in the United States, '...when an Australian citizen is threatened in this way, an Australian Prime Minister should respond.'  The Prime Minister must now act on his own advice.

"When it stepped into the breach left by successive Australian governments, the government of Ecuador found that Mr Assange is, “without protection and assistance that should receive from the State of which he is a citizen.” 

"It's well past time for the Australian Government to take a strong public stand against Washington's plans to destroy an Australian citizen because he revealed embarrassing truths about America's politics, wars and illegal surveillance.

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