Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport

Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport

February 22, 2019

Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport that means he could finally leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and go to his home country

  • The WikiLeaks founder has been living under asylum at the embassy since 2012 
  • Has sought political asylum in the embassy after Sweden requested extradition 
  • Has been issued a new Australian passport which clears the way for his return
  • Passport applied for in 2018 but his application was held over legal proceedings

Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport clearing the way for him to finally leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The Wikileaks founder has lived in the embassy in Knightsbridge since 2012 when Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in a rape case.

The Australian denied their claims but refused to travel to Sweden to face them, saying it was part of a ruse to extradite him to the US due to his involvement in the leaking of a huge amount of classified documents in 2010.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador in 2017

Assange, 47, has been holed up under asylum inside the embassy (pictured) since 2012 when he was accused of sexual assault by two women in Sweden

Swedish prosecutors announced in 2017 that they had closed the rape investigation and a new Australian passport clears the way for Mr Assange  end his political asylum.

An official at Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade confirmed yesterday that ‘Mr Assange does have an Australian passport’. 

The timing is good for Mr Assange as there had been talk Ecuador was seeking to end his asylum.  

The Courage Foundation claimed his expulsion from the embassy was imminent in January, which put him at risk of extradition to the United States.

Mr Assange has long maintained the he faces charges under seal in the US for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

Documents show Mr Assange’s UK-based lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, applied for a new passport on his behalf in mid-2018.

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The Australian Department for Foreign Trade and Affairs (DFAT) said that Mr Assange’s passport could have been affected by his ongoing legal proceedings.

‘Specifically, we understand you may be the subject of an arrest warrant in connection with a “serious foreign offence” within the meaning of section 13 of the Australian Passports Act 2005,’ DFAT said.

‘In order to progress your application, we require confirmation that section 13 is not enlivened by your circumstances. To this end, we ask that you provide us with confirmation that section 13 no longer applies to you. Until this time, your passport application will remain on hold.’

But today an official confirmed his application had been successful. 

Australian barrister and adviser to Mr Assange, Greg Barns, praised Australia’s foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who he said had gone to great lengths to ensure Mr Assange was granted a passport.

Mr Barns said the Australian government needed to act to resolve the situation.

He said: ‘The Australian Government does have a role to play in the resolution of Julian Assange’s case.’ 

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