Petition to offer Assange asylum in New Zealand to be presented to parliament

Assange supporters outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London © Peter Nicholls/Reuters

A petition with thousands of signatures supporting Julian Assange’s political asylum is set to be presented to New Zealand’s parliament.

Labour Party politician Greg O’Connor said that, while he personally does not support Assange obtaining asylum in New Zealand, he will present the petition to parliament after more than 2,000 people signed their names in support of the WikiLeaks founder, reports Newstalk ZB.

The parliamentary petition, launched in July 2018, will now be delivered to the clerk of the house for allocation to a select committee for formal consideration.

The ‘Free Assange NZ’ group said they haven’t forgotten the Australian’s plight and are following whistleblower and former U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning on her tour of the country to remind people of the petition and its political progress. On Saturday night, Assange supporters gathered outside the Embassy Theater where Manning was speaking.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since he was granted asylum in 2012, fearing an extradition to the US through Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning on rape allegations. The UN Human Rights Council ruled in 2016 that Assange was being arbitrarily detained by the UK, a violation of his human rights. Swedish investigators finally accepted Assange’s offer to be questioned at the embassy in November 2016, after which the Swedish extradition warrant and associated investigation were subsequently dropped. Ecuador announced that he was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018 and additionally sought to secure diplomatic status for him, which the UK promptly rejected. There is still an outstanding UK arrest warrant for Assange on charges of skipping bail. He has been wanted in the US since WikiLeaks published classified documents leaked by  Manning in 2010.

* This article was automatically syndicated and expanded from RT International.

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