4:00pm

Sat March 17, 2012
The Two-Way

WikiLeaks Founder Assange To Run For Australian Senate

Originally published on Sat March 17, 2012 5:50 pm

Here's one way to spend time under house arrest: The WikiLeaks creator will run for the Senate in Australia, his home country. The revelation appeared, typically, on WikiLeaks' Twitter feed:

Assange is under house arrest in England, fighting extradition to Sweden, where he's accused of two sex crimes.

The Australian is angry that his government, led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hasn't supported him over the WikiLeaks release of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government files. As AP reports, Assange is also concerned about possible extradition to the U.S., where he could face trial for publishing the leaked documents.

WikiLeaks also announced someone would take on the Australian prime minister in the next election in Victoria province:

Whomever the candidate is, Gillard's party strongly suggests they learn to spell her home seat correctly — it's Laylor, not Lalor, notes the Sydney Morning Herald. It's unclear if Assange, or the unnamed Gillard opponent, will run as a member of a political party.

WikiLeaks links to a lengthy discussion on reasons why Assange can run, despite the fact he's being held in a foreign country. The main sticking point could be the Swedish legal case against him; but the discussion notes a Australian candidate must actually be convicted of a major crime to be disqualified from election. Assange's house arrest in Britain doesn't count.

The Australian press isn't making much of this, with most media outlets spending just a few paragraphs describing Assange's intentions. The Brisbane Times is more interested in Assange's mother, Christine, who's asking Australia's foreign minister for help in freeing her son.

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