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Australians rally in Sydney to demand release of Julian Assange

Supporters of jailed hacker Julian Assange call for his release during a rally held in Sydney.

Australian protesters have taken to the streets in Sydney to demonstrate against extradition to the US by the British government of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that was intended to coincide with the canceled visit of the US president to Australia.

Leading the protest rally on Wednesday, the wife of the jailed whistleblower demanded his release from incarceration in the UK and called on Aussie Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to bring her husband back to his native Australia, .

"He needs to be free because the world needs press freedom," Stella Assange further emphasized while addressing the crowd of protesters.

Julian's brother, Gabriel Shipton, also spoke at the rally and was undisturbed by Biden's absence, insisting: "They're hearing the message loud and clear. They know there's millions of Australians who want this brought to a close."

Assange's father, John Shipton, also took part in the protest rally and emphasized, “It’s time to show some sincerity of action and also to understand clearly that they need the support of the populous to enact policy, and the populous has given us whole-hearted and full support for the freedom of Julian Assange"

"So it’s time for them to pick up the phone and ring Biden and say, Well, better send this dad home.” 

Meanwhile, Assange's lawyers have begun their appeal at Britain's Supreme Court against its order to extradite him to the United States.

The December 10 decision by London's High Court overturned an earlier ruling by the British magistrate that it was "cruel" to extradite the 50-year-old Australian man to the US justice system because of his mental health and the risk of committing suicide.

The US seeks to bring Assange to trial for WikiLeaks' 2010 release of classified military documents related to the country's war crimes and other atrocities committed by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US government has charged Assange with 18 counts related to the release of 500,000 classified files about the conflicts. He could face up to 175 years in prison in the United States, although the exact sentence is difficult to estimate.

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