Jeremy Corbyn
Politics

Assange Should Not Be Extradited For 'Exposing Atrocities In Iraq And Afghanistan', Corbyn Says

Mr Corbyn said that the extradition of Julian Assange to the US "should be opposed by the British government".

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says whistleblower Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US for "exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan".

The WikiLeaks co-founder was dramatically arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been for nearly seven years, so he could be taken to the US over allegations that he conspired to hack into a classified Pentagon computer.

The 47-year-old faces up to 12 months in a British prison after he was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions. 

The US charge could bring a maximum jail sentence of five years, according to the US Department of Justice.

British troops in Iraq.
British troops in Iraq.

Prime Minister Theresa May, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt all said Assange's arrest on Thursday showed that no-one is "above the law"

But Labour leader Mr Corbyn said Assange should not be extradited to the US to face a charge of conspiring with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.

He tweeted: "The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government."

In the US, Hillary Clinton said Assange should "answer for what he had done", while President Donald Trump declared he knows "nothing about WikiLeaks" when asked about the arrest.

The president previously praised Assange during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign and welcomed the political boost when the organisation released emails damaging to Mrs Clinton.

Following his arrest, Mr Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court, where a judge accused him of behaving like a "narcissist".

The Ecuadorian government had historically been sympathetic to Mr Assange's cause, but a regime change two years ago heralded a less supportive approach.

The country's ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, said that in the time Mr Assange had remained in the embassy he had been disrespectful, "continually a problem" and interfered in elections, politics and the internal affairs of other countries.

Mr Assange spent nearly 7 years at the Ecuadorian Embassy, as he sought political asylum in 2012 when he failed in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden.

He was wanted over two separate allegations - one of rape and one of molestation - something Mr Assange has always denied.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that, as a citizen of the country, Mr Assange will have consular assistance available to him but will not get "special treatment".