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Assange Turns to PM Gillard for Protection

|Jun 25|magazine6 min read

Last week, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange made headlines when he turned to Ecuador’s London embassy for asylum in an effort to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about two sexual assault allegations dating back to August 2010.

This week, the Aussie is seeking protection from his native country, calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to exercise her federal power to protect him from the Swedish courtroom.

From Sweden, he fears that he’ll be handed to the United States’ authorities to stand trial as a result of WikiLeaks’ publishing of more than 25,000 confidential diplomatic documents in 2010, but Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr assures that he has received “no hint” of this actually happening.

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Still, Mr Assange isn’t taking any chances.

''I have been attacked by the US, from the Vice-President down, as a high-tech terrorist, and by the Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister - surely that requires some direct response from the Gillard government,” he told Fairfax Media.

According to the Herald Sun, Labor diplomats has been in “constant contact” with Mr Assange’s legal team and have offered face-to-face meetings with him, but Ms Gillard said he has never requested one.

"In the course of these legal proceedings, my advice is consular officials have been in contact with his legal team and Mr Assange has not requested or sought for those dealings to be directly with him,” Ms Gillard told the newspaper.

"Mr Assange has received continuing consular assistance in exactly the same way any Australian citizen facing legal issues would.”

The former computer hacker is currently waiting for his asylum application to be processed by the Ecuadorean government in hopes that the President, Rafael Correa, will provide him with adequate protection should the Australian Government fail to do so.