Six Australian parliamentarians arrived on Tuesday in Washington D.C. to call on members of Congress and officials from the State and Justice departments to halt U.S. efforts to extradite Australian publisher Julian Assange on espionage charges. 

The bipartisan delegation dedicated two days in the U.S. capital advocating for Assange, urging his release and the dismissal of all charges. Their efforts come before the scheduled state visit of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the White House in late October, during which Assange’s incarceration will also be discussed.

Greens Sen. David Shoebridge said the prosecution of Assange undermines the strong bilateral relationship between the two nations, as nearly 90% of the Australian population supports Assange’s safe return to Australia. Shoebridge also noted that the only crime Assange seems to be charged with is the “crime of being a journalist, the crime of telling the truth.”

“Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, has been effectively deprived of his liberty for the last 11 years,” said Labor MP Tony Zappia. “We are here to speak to the U.S. government, and to make it very clear that the people of Australia believe that Julian Assange has been punished enough that his detention should come to an end, that the charges against him should be dropped.”

On Wednesday, the delegation convened at the Department of Justice and held a press conference:

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