US ‘considering’ dropping prosecution of Julian Assange, Biden says

Comments from president come after request from Australian government to return Wikileaks founder to country

US president Joe Biden on Wednesday said he was considering an Australian request to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who released troves of confidential US classified documents.

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese in February backed a motion in parliament’s lower house calling for the return of Mr Assange (52) to Australia.

US officials are looking to Mr extradite Assange from Britain to the United States, where he is wanted on criminal charges.

“We are considering it,” Mr Biden said to a question from a reporter who asked if he had a response to Australia’s request to end Mr Assange’s prosecution.


In a post on the X social media network directed at Mr Biden and citing his comment, Mr Assange’s wife said: “Do the right thing. Drop the charges.”

Mr Assange’s extradition was put on hold in March after London’s high court said the United States must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty.

US prosecutors want to try Mr Assange on 18 counts, all bar one under the Espionage Act, over WikiLeaks’s release of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables.

After Britain gave the go-ahead for his extradition last year, Mr Assange’s lawyers in February launched a final attempt in the English courts to challenge that decision. – Reuters