After lengthy discussions over whether Assange was subject to an arrest warrant for a “serious foreign offence,”Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed: “Mr Assange does have an Australian passport.”
Confirmation was given at a Senate hearing on Thursday that Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. The WikiLeaks chief received his Australian passport in September 2018, news of which has only now been reported.
Assange had been without a passport after his previous one expired a few years ago. The new passport issued to him makes it possible for him to return to Australia if he were ever able to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy without UK prosecution.
Assange has been there since he sought asylum in 2012, after Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in a rape case.
He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in December 2017 in a bid to protect him from being extradited to the US, where he fears he would face secret charges for publishing US government cables and thousands of classified documents relating to activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2017, Swedish prosecutors announced that they had closed the rape investigation.
A number of celebrities, such as actress-turned-activist Pamela Anderson and music artist Kanye West have been vocal supporters of Assange. Pink Floyd founder and political activist Roger Waters has endorsed upcoming political demonstrations in support of the WikiLeaks founder, to take place in March in Assange’s native Australia.
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