Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia is providing consular assistance to Julian Assange following his arrest in London but the Wikileaks founder will receive "no special treatment", even in the wake of a US extradition request.
An Australian citizen, Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian embassy for more than six years until that country ended his political asylum on Thursday for "discourteous and aggressive behaviour" and WikiLeaks' "hostile and threatening declarations" against Ecuador.
He was charged with skipping bail by entering the embassy in 2012. Appearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court four hours later, he pleaded not guilty, claiming he had a reasonable excuse for seeking asylum as his arrest would end in his extradition to the US.
That extradition request, on charges related to the publication of vast quantities of classified information by Wikileaks, is forthcoming but will be fought by Assange's lawyers.
Mr Morrison said a request for consular assistance was made overnight and was being handled by consular officials. On Thursday evening Mr Morrison met Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who spoke with the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis, about the matter.
"He'll get that consular assistance as you'd expect him to, but he will have to make his way through whatever comes his way in terms of the justice system there," Mr Morrison said from western Sydney, where he is spending the first full day of the election campaign.
"He won't be getting any special treatment from Australia, he'll be getting the same treatment that any other Australian would get."
Asked whether Australia would fight a move to extradite Assange to the US, Mr Morrison said the Wikileaks founder was at the mercy of the British justice system.
"When Australians travel overseas and the find themselves in difficulties with the law, they face the judicial systems of those countries," he told the ABC.
"It doesn't matter what particular crime it is that they're alleged to have committed, that's the way the system works."
A full extradition request is expected within two months. US prosecutors allege that in 2010 Assange agreed to help whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a military computer password while obtaining secret documents.
He was indicted in March 2018 by a grand jury in Virginia on the charge of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion". If found guilty, he faces a maximum five years in jail.
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