Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Sunday said there was no indication from the U.S. of a plan to extradite to the country WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is currently holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
“There is not the remotest evidence that is the case,” he was quoted as saying by the Australian news agency AAP.
Mr. Carr said he has received no hint from two discussions with American officials that they have a plan to extradite Mr. Assange to the U.S.
Australian-born 40-year-old Mr. Assange has sought political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London, fearing he could face the death penalty in the U.S. over the WikiLeaks’ release of secret diplomatic cables.
Mr. Carr said Mr. Assange’s argument was with one government — the Swedish government — who want to question him about sexual assault allegations.
“It’s not about WikiLeaks, it’s not about secrets, it’s not about political persecution,” Mr. Carr said.
He further said that Australia had made representations to the Swedish government on behalf of Mr. Assange.
“There is a view that it would be easier for the U.S. to extradite him from the U.K. rather than from Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about (matters) wholly unrelated to anything to do with WikiLeaks or state secrets,” he said.
Mr. Carr said some U.S. authorities had yet to state that they were not interested in extraditing the Australian.
“They haven’t been able to rule out that one corner of the American administration is considering it, but I would expect the U.S. wouldn’t want to touch this,” he said, adding the U.S. government knew Australia’s “well worn” position of not wanting Mr. Assange extradited from anywhere.