News24

Aus considers cancelling Assange passport

2010-12-04 12:03

Sydney - Australia on Saturday questioned whether it would be productive to void the passport of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and hinted that he may not be welcome to return if convicted of crimes.

Assange, subject to an international arrest warrant for rape claims in Sweden as the storm rages over his online release of some 250 000 US diplomatic cables, was born in and holds a passport for Australia.

Attorney general Robert McClelland said the Australian government had considered cancelling the passport as global efforts continue to track down Assange but there were "issues in respect of serving a notice of cancellation".

"More importantly, there (are) issues as to whether it would be constructive or counter-productive to the law enforcement," McClelland told reporters.

Assange's passport would set off alarms if presented at an airport and McClelland questioned "whether it would be counter-productive to remove the identification that would in fact trigger the law-enforcement process".

The attorney general said Australia was also examining whether Assange had broken any local laws and had indicated "that we will provide every assistance to United States law enforcement authorities".

Asked if Assange would be welcome to return to Australia McClelland said: "Any Australian citizen has their rights as an Australian citizen but that also includes the consequences of breaching any laws of another country.

"I’m aware the US attorney has said that US law enforcement authorities are looking very closely at the fact that United States laws may have been breached," he added.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday rounded on Assange's actions as "grossly irresponsible" and illegal, as his mother expressed grave fears for her son's safety.

Assange, believed to be hiding out in Britain, briefly broke cover on Saturday to say he had boosted his security after receiving death threats.

His whistleblowing website was forced to turn to Switzerland for a new domain name after its original wikileaks.org address was shut down by an American provider, while Paris tried to ban French servers from hosting it.

Comments
  • Sadness - 2010-12-04 12:46

    First they came for the hackers. But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for the pornographers. But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway, so I didn't speak up Then they came for the anonymous remailers. But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for the encryption users. But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for me. And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

  • Vuzi - 2010-12-04 13:17

    How powerless is the little man against the machine. So today we have the crime of living in the light, the crime of openness and transparency. hey government, given the fact that you work for me, serve me, how about you go about your business in a way that makes WikiLeaks irrelevant, because all diplomatic data is automatically published free and open. O you cannot conceive of a world like that ? Well there's your problem right there.

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