Australia govt opposes Assange death penalty
LONDON, Apr 12: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Julian Assange's fame won't buy him any special treatment, but supporters of the WikiLeaks founder say the government must stop pretending the international scandal is a regular consular issue.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Australia remains "completely opposed" to capital punishment, and noted the UK has sought assurances from America that Assange won't be exposed to a death sentence if he was sent there.
Australian officials visited the WikiLeaks founder in a London jail on Friday after he was carried out of the Ecuadorian embassy, almost seven years after taking refuge there. He was promptly put before a British court, where the judge branded him a narcissist and convicted him of skipping bail in 2012.
Assange faces up to five years in prison if convicted, with legal experts saying more charges are possible before he's extradited. Morrison said Assange was receiving nothing more than standard consular assistance and must face the music like any other Australian in legal hot water overseas. "It's got nothing to do with us, it is a matter for the US," he said of the extradition bid.
Supporters fear Assange could face the death penalty if the US succeeds in a bid to extradite and try him over the release of thousands of classified US government documents almost a decade ago. -AAP