A week after entering the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he is prepared to go to Sweden for questioning in a sexual assault case – but only if he is guaranteed that he won’t be extradited to the United States.
The Australian-born whistleblower made a bid for freedom last week, when he arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy and asked for political asylum. This request is now being considered by that country’s president, and the ambassador has been recalled for consultation as well.
Assange and his supporters believe that once he arrives in Sweden, he will be extradited to the United States. It is widely believed that Washington wants to pursue him for revealing sensitive information about US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of leaked diplomatic cables have put the US in an uncomfortable position with its allies and partners worldwide.
Assange said that “if the US were to guarantee that it would drop the grand jury investigation and any further investigation of WikiLeaks’ publishing activity, that would be an important guarantee… diplomatic commitments do have some weight.”
Ecuador says Assange will remain under its protection until a decision is made about his asylum application. However, Assange faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy.
I too am ashamed. Ashamed of the absolute farce that has occurred in Canberra in their bipartisan failure to agree on how to manage the influx of illegal immigrants (or boat people). Ashamed that more humans have perished in their attempt to reach our shores. Ashamed that we as a nation have not identified a way that precludes genuine refugees from having to attempt these dangerous passages in their search for a better life.
For more comment on this issue go here
You will recall in a post on this site that on 25 August 2011, an ambulance crew attended a patient at Kings Cross. During the transport to hospital the patient assaulted one of the attending paramedics. Police attended and the patient was arrested. The case was before the court on Friday 20 January 2012. The Magistrate, Ms Pat O’Shane, after hearing the evidence only of the assaulted paramedic, and not his partner, found in favour of the patient.
I welcome today’s decision by the Supreme Court to set aside that decision, dismiss the case and return the matter to the local court to be heard before a different magistrate. The law is there to protect all frontline paramedics and this decision vindicates our trust in the justice system.
I was angry at the outcome of the original case. On 30 July 2010, new protection for paramedics against being assaulted became legally binding. This legislation was to confirm to the community that verbal and physical assault would not be tolerated. All paramedics should know they can undertake their on-road clinical duties unhindered and appropriately protected against assault.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is to be applauded for appealing the original decision and I look forward to the case being re-heard at a later date.
It is absolutely paramount for all paramedics to report every incident of violence or aggression either verbal or physical. The Ambulance Service of NSW on record as stating it will pursue all individuals who cause harm to paramedics with the full force of the law.
See the ABC report here