The federal government says it will continue to offer consular assistance to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the United Kingdom’s decision that his extradition to the United States can proceed.
“We will continue to convey our expectations that Mr Assange is entitled to due process, humane and fair treatment, access to proper medical care, and access to his legal team,” a statement late on Friday night from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.
“The Australian government has been clear in our view that Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close.
“We will continue to express this view to the governments of the United Kingdom and United States.”
Earlier on Friday, British interior minister Priti Patel approved the extradition, bringing Mr Assange’s long-running legal saga closer to a conclusion.
He is wanted by US authorities on 18 criminal charges, including a spying charge relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables which Washington said had put lives in danger.
Mr Assange’s wife Stella said he would appeal the decision.
“We’re going to fight this. We’re going to use every appeal avenue,” Stella Assange told reporters, calling the decision a “travesty” at a London press conference on Friday.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International called on the UK to refrain from the extradition, and the US to drop all charges against Mr Assange.
Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard said allowing the Australian to be sent to the US for trial would put him at great risk.
“(Mr) Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill treatment,” Dr Callamard said.
“Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history.”