In his first interview since seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange speaks to ABC Radio National, Australia, on his reasons for avoiding extradition.
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange has accused both the U.K. and Sweden of conspiring to trap him in England, while U.S. authorities build a legal case against him. He has further stated that the Australian government has abandoned him by refusing to intervene in his extradition.
Yesterday, Assange, who is an Australian national, spoke to Fran Kelly of ABC Radio National live from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
In the interview, he stressed that Washington is hatching a plot to bring him to the U.S.
“The situation for me here in the UK has been extremely precarious and the refusal by the Swedish prosecutor to come to the UK for the past 18 months – despite that being absolutely normal procedure – and the refusal of her to explain it in any manner whatsoever to the British courts, has kept me trapped in the United Kingdom, while the United States has prepared its case against me,” he said.
Assange added that the Australian government had made an "effective declaration of abandonment" because at no stage did it intervene in the U.K. court procedures. He criticized Australian PM Julia Gillard for her "slimy rhetoric" with the U.S. ambassador to Australia and categorically denied receiving any help from Australia's diplomatic mission, as had been suggested in the interview.
He said that Attorney-General Nicola Roxon had refused "reasonable requests" by his lawyer to consult or be involved in discussions on the matter, and labels it an "effective declaration of abandonment".
"There is not a single matter of concern under which the Australian Government, as represented by the Attorney-General, would ask other governments to be reasonable or just in this case," he said.
"There are serious issues here, and they are being hidden by the slimy rhetoric coming out of the U.S. ambassador to Australia, via [Prime Minister Julia] Gillard and by the Foreign Minister - and that needs to stop," he said.
"I haven't met with anyone from the Australian High Commission since December 2010," he said, adding that his contact since then had been limited to text messages asking "Does Mr Assange have any concerns?".
When asked why he is seeking asylum in Ecuador, he stated that he was not prepared to go to Sweden under the terms that he believes he would be held in that country.
"The Swedes announced publicly, that they would detain me, in prison, without charge while they continued their so-called investigation," he said.
"We had heard that the Ecuadorians were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organisation with the United States, and the ability to exercise that option was at an effective end."
Assange maintains that the accusations made against him on sexual charges are politically motivated and said he hoped his dramatic actions “will simply draw attention to the underlying issues."
He has voiced concerns that his extradition to Sweden would be the first step towards a possible transfer to U.S. jurisdiction.
Assange believes that once in the U.S., he could face a similar fate to fellow whistleblower Bradley Manning, who is currently on trial there.
Assange stated that the American authorities had been carefully skirting around the issue of his possible extradition to the U.S.
He says, “Their careful statements reflect that the [US] Department of Justice is not able to formally confirm or deny the existence of the grand jury – it's a policy with all grand juries.”
Assange stressed legal action was being taken against him by the U.S., insisting that “the evidence is everywhere.”
He referred to the detention of two people in an U.S. airport last month, who were interrogated by the FBI. “They asked questions about me and my organization, asked [them] to become informers,” Assange told ABC.
The U.S. wants him due to thousands of classified diplomatic cables that were released through WikiLeaks. Some American politicians have branded him a terrorist and call for him to be treated as such.
RT published the following video a few moments ago: