Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • EU broadens sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Wikileaks' Assange begins run for Australia Senate seat

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-25

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange officially launched his political party Thursday in order to run in the Australian Senate elections this year, with the hope that a Senate seat could provide him with 'defense against potential criminal prosecution'.

Secrets spiller Julian Assange on Thursday launched his WikiLeaks Party’s Senate candidate team for Australian elections due this year.

Assange, a 41-year-old Australian citizen who last left his homeland in 2010, addressed the party launch in the Victoria state capital of Melbourne via Skype from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has taken asylum from extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual offense allegations.

Assange is one of three party candidates in Victoria for elections that will be held before December. The party, which was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission only this month, will also field candidates in New South Wales and Western Australia states.

Assange said his party’s seven Senate candidates would go to the national capital of Canberra to address what it says has been a gradual decline in Australian democracy over the past 30 years.

“Canberra needs to be a place of light, not a place of darkness,” he told the launch at a library in suburban Melbourne.

Assange took asylum at the embassy more than a year ago rather than comply with a British order that he go to Sweden for questioning about sex crime allegations.

He says extradition to the Scandinavian country is merely a first step in efforts to move him to the United States, where he has infuriated officials by publishing secret documents, including 250,000 State Department cables. U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning has admitted passing those documents to WikiLeaks.

The Australian government has echoed U.S. condemnations of Assange’s publishing, but has also acknowledged he has broken no Australian law.

If Assange wins the election, he would be required to take up his Senate seat on July 1, 2014.

WikiLeaks Party national council member Sam Castro said that if Assange wins a seat but cannot return to Australia by then, the party can choose a replacement.

But she said the onus is on the Australian government to ensure an elected senator could sit in Parliament. The situation would be unprecedented, she said.

“Wow, what would that mean if the Australian government did nothing to assure the safe passage of an elected representative who has been granted asylum?” Catroa asked.

“Whether the current government or the opposition would go against the United States’ wishes, I guess, is something we could find out in time,” she added.

Assange spent almost two years fighting extradition over alleged 2010 assaults on two Swedish women, which he denies. In June 2012, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled against him, prompting his asylum bid with Ecuador, whose leftist government had expressed support.

Assange told Australia’s The Conversation website in February that he regards his bid to become a senator as a defense against potential criminal prosecution.

Assange told the website that if he wins a Senate seat, the U.S. Department of Justice would drop its espionage investigation rather than risk a diplomatic row.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-07-25

  • UK

    Wikileaks' Julian Assange marks one year in embassy

    Read more

  • USA

    WikiLeaks publishes 1.7 million US diplomatic cables

    Read more

  • UK - ECUADOR

    Press weigh in after Ecuador grants Assange asylum

    Read more

COMMENT(S)