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Assange’s adviser calls for Morrison and Shorten’s help

A legal adviser to Julian Assange has called on Australian politicians to lobby the United States to withdraw its claim to extradite the Wikileaks co-founder.

Melbourne barrister Greg Barns, who has provided legal advice to Mr Assange for almost a decade, has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten intervene.

“In certain cases you will get the diplomatic channels working to see whether or not some resolution can be reached where the person is not extradited. We think this is an appropriate case,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“We would urge both Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison to get involved in this case to protect an Australian citizen.”

The United States has filed an indictment charge for computer hacking, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, but the US has a record of imposing additional charges on extradited people once they arrive in the US.

“There are certainly charges he could be charged with, and we assume he is going to be charged with, which carry effectively life imprisonment… one of them up to 45 years,” Mr Barns said.

Mr Barns said he couldn’t rule out the possibility of the United States imposing capital punishment on Mr Assange.

“It’s hard to know [if they will impose the death penalty]…I think there would be enormous political pressure for that not to happen,

“The United States justice system, it has to be said, particularly in relation to these state security matters, does treat people extremely harshly,” he said.

Mr Assange was dramatically arrested in London overnight after the Ecuadorian embassy revoked his asylum.

He has spent the last seven years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid legal charges.

He has been found guilty of breaching his bail in the UK.

Press PLAY below to hear barrister Greg Barns talking to Neil Mitchell.

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