Despite the Australian government’s diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in the UK, US authorities have launched a new investigation into his case, Anadolu Agency reports.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has sought an interview with acclaimed novelist, Andrew O’Hagan, who remained close to Assange while working as a ghost writer on the whistleblower’s autobiography, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The FBI’s latest move to gather more evidence comes despite Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese’s statement last month that the case “needs to be brought to a conclusion”.
Australian Senator, David Shoebridge, on Thursday said a Foreign Ministry official confirmed hearing the report in the media.
“DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) just confirmed they only heard about the FBI renewing its investigation & persecution of Assange thru media today,” Shoebridge tweeted following the Senate Foreign Affairs committee meeting.
“The US is ignoring the PM’s supposed reps, supported by the opposition, in continuing this unjust persecution. Nice treatment by our closest ‘ally’,” he added.
“I continue to say in private what I said publicly as Labour leader and what I’ve said as Prime Minister, that enough is enough,” Albanese said last month while visiting the UK, where Assange has been imprisoned for the past four years.
However, Shoebridge said they will fight for Assange until he returns home.
“Julian Assange needs support from our Government now, more than ever. He is on our minds and we will keep fighting for him to return home,” he added.
Last month, Assange’s wife said that his life is “in the hands of the Australian government” and demanded his release.
Stella Assange, who is also part of her husband’s legal team, contended that Assange’s release from prison has never been closer, urging Premier Albanese to “make it happen”.
Assange, an Australian citizen, is being held in the UK, where authorities approved his extradition to the US last year. He is wanted for his alleged role in espionage and the dissemination of classified US military information.
In 2019, he was dragged out of Ecuador’s Embassy building in London, where he took refuge for more than seven years. If extradited to the US, Assange faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years.
While the UK has agreed to Washington’s demand, Assange has filed an appeal with the court.