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Australia confirms Wikileaks' Assange has valid passport

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Australia confirms Wikileaks' Assange has valid passport

By Alison Bevege

 

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/Files

 

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia has confirmed that Julian Assange has a valid passport, a key development for the Wikileaks founder, who fears that Ecuador seeks to end his asylum in its London embassy and extradite him to the United States.

 

The new passport, which would allow Assange, who is in failing health, to return to Australia, was issued in September last year but remained unreported until Saturday. His previous passport had expired.

 

Senior officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday told a Senate estimates hearing that Assange had a valid passport, reiterating a statement from last October.

 

Senator Rex Patrick of minority party Centre Alliance, who has taken up Assange's cause in parliament, asked department officials if they had talked to the United States about safe passage for Assange if he left the embassy.

 

James Larsen, the department's chief legal officer, said he was not aware of any U.S. proceedings against Assange and so there was nothing to discuss.

 

"I don’t have a record before me of what our engagement with the United States is specifically concerning Mr Assange," he said.

 

"We are not aware, on the Australian government’s side, of any legal proceedings initiated within, or by, the United States, concerning Mr Assange."

 

U.S. officials have acknowledged that federal prosecutors launched a lengthy criminal investigation into Assange and Wikileaks, which published U.S. diplomatic and military secrets under him.

 

Assange's supporters remain convinced the United States will seek his extradition if he tries to leave the embassy.

 

"Day 2998 of the unlawful and arbitrary detention of Julian Assange in the United Kingdom," the Defend Assange Campaign said in a message on social network Twitter on Thursday.

 

"U.S. government continues to seek his arrest and extradition for publishing the truth about the war in Iraq. He has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize."

 

Assange first took asylum in the embassy in 2012, but his relationship with Ecuador has grown increasingly tense.

 

In December he was administered a series of medical tests, in line with new rules for his asylum at the embassy that prompted him to sue the government.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-23

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Does he have a UK visa with his Aussie passport? Is it a newly-issued passport?

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Ecuador will extradite him to the US? Have they received a request?

 

Isn't for an Australian passport a visit to the embassy required?

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If he steps outside the Equadorian Embassy in London he will be arrested by the British Police and probably extradited to the U.S.    He no longer has a valid visa for the U.K. either, so in theory he could be deported to who knows where ?

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42 minutes ago, steve187 said:

the story goes on and on, all that money around 10 million, at the tax payers expense to keep a police guard which ended in Oct 2015, why doesn't he just slip out the back.

here is a idea. How about have someone his build with a hat and glasses walk in and have JA walk out in the same cloths. Are cops really standing at all exits 24/7?  what a waste of tax payers money !

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5 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Assange has a valid passport and black cabs are available for hire between the Ecuadorian embassy and LHR.

 

These are facts.

 

But they are of no use to anyone who decides of his own free will to hide in the basement.

Isn't America looking to arrest him on site?

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1 minute ago, HLover said:

Isn't America looking to arrest him on site?

The United States arresting people in London.

 

That’s new.

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After the rigmarole I had to go through to get a new passport, in Australia, I am curious as to just how he managed to get one inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Did embassy staff go visit him to verify his identity and witness his signature ?

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If a very convincing Assange look alike/ impersonator walks in to the embassy....who walks out?? I'm just thinking aloud here folks....

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