Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Announces Australia Senate Run
The embattled founder of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks has announced that he intends to run for a seat in the Australian Senate.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 40-year-old Julian Assange will stand for a seat in Parliament in elections that could happen as early as July of next year. This, despite the fact that Assange is being held in virtual house arrest in the United Kingdom over alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden. Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden; his case has made it all the way to the British Supreme Court, which is expected to reach a decision soon.
It is not known which state Assange will decide to run in, but Wikileaks said that would be determined and announced ”at an appropriate time”.
Assange has been critical of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government for not protecting him from potential extradition to the United States to face trial over Wikileaks’ massive leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and diplomatic relations with various countries.
According to Agence France-Presse, the United States has already drawn up secret charges against the Wikileaks founder.
Under Australian law, Assange is eligible to run for Parliament because he hasn’t been convicted of any crime punishable under the country’s laws by 12 months or more in prison.
But he could have a tough time gaining political traction in a country where independent candidates have not historically fared well. According to the Associated Press, only one of Australia’s 76 current Senators does not represent a party.
Assange’s mother Christine criticized her government’s willingness to put its relationship with Washington ahead of the rights of an Australian citizen.
“The No. 1 issue at the next election regardless of who you vote for is democracy in this country – whether or not we’re just a state of the U.S. and whether or not our citizens are going to be just handed over as a sacrifice to the U.S. alliance,” she is quoted by the AP.
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