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Delegation of Australian lawmakers will visit US to push for Julian Assange’s release: ‘Powerful message’

A cross-party delegation of Australian lawmakers will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month to urge officials to drop the prosecution against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is accused of publishing classified U.S. military documents leaked by a whistleblower.

The group will include former Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce, Labor Party member of parliament Tony Zapia, Independent member of parliament Monique Ryan, Liberal Party member of parliament Alex Antic and Greens Party members of parliament Peter Whish-Wilson and David Shoebridge.

The Australian delegation will meet with House and Senate members, the State Department and the Justice Department to advocate against extraditing Assange to the U.S. to face charges for receiving, possessing and communicating classified information to the public under the Espionage Act. He also faces one charge alleging a conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, told Fox News Digital that the “All Party Australian delegation brings a powerful message from one of the U.S.’s closest allies, that the continued vengeful pursuit of Australian Publisher and Journalist Julian Assange is beginning to take its toll on the close friendship the two nations have enjoyed through history.”

WikiLeaks also published internal communications in 2016 between the Democratic National Committee and then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign that revealed the DNC’s attempts to boost Clinton in that year’s Democratic primary.

“The job of the media is to challenge the government’s monopoly on secrets,” Wizner said. “And if Assange is convicted, it will open the door to threatening news organizations and their reporters with imprisonment if they disregard the government’s commands not to publish information even in the public interest … You don’t need to think that Julian Assange should win journalism awards to be very, very worried about the impact of this case on the freedom of the press.”

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