A majority of Australians don't think their countryman, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will get treated fairly if he's tried in the United States.
In a poll conducted by UMR Research and reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, 58 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed thought that he would not get a fair trial in the U.S. Only 22 percent think he will be, in the Herald's words, "afforded proper justice," and 20 percent aren't sure.
Assange turned to Ecuador for asylum in his attempt not be extradited to Sweden over sexual assault accusations. According to a New York Times report from June: "In a statement from the Ecuadorean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration, Mr. Assange said he had sought asylum because his native Australia had declined to protect him from what he hinted were unfair international attacks." The Sydney Morning Herald's Phillip Coorey writes, "officially, the US government says it has no plans to then extradite him to the US," but The Times notes there are reports of a grand jury looking into Assange over WikiLeaks' release of documents.
Aussies in that 58 percent might be right according to The Guardian's Michael Ratner, who points to signs that the the U.S. intends to prosecute Assange:
Assange is rightly concerned about how he will be treated if he is extradited to the US. One need only consider how the US treated Bradley Manning, the army private who allegedly leaked the cables to WikiLeaks to see why. Manning spent close to a year in pre-trial solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and then eight months under conditions designed to pressure him into providing evidence to incriminate Assange. During this time, Manning was stripped of his clothing and made to stand nude for inspection. Thousands of people, including scores of legal scholars and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, have condemned Manning's treatment as inhumane, and state that it may constitute torture. There is no reason for Assange to expect he will be treated any better.
All that said, Australians aren't entirely in love with Assange, according to the same poll: 40 percent find him favorable, but 30 regard him negatively. Another 30 percent are unsure.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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