Assange chronology


AFP Operation Parteree. AFP resources commenced with the Whole of Government Task Force. The AFP Officers assisted in the examination of disclosed US cables and media reporting in line with Task Force requirements. This commitment was separate to the investigation referred to the AFP by the Attorney-General. To date, the AFP continues to assist the Task Force on an ‘as required basis’ or upon receipt of referral from other agencies.The AFP provide 2 Federal agents to assist the Task Force on a 12 hour shift basis. The incident room was located with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.


AFP FOI documents. Attorney General’s Department referred the matter relating to the publishing of US embassy cables containing classified information on the Wikileaks website to the Australian Federal Police.


News report. Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard ‘has been accused of possibly prejudicing any future case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by claiming he is “guilty of illegality” for leaking US diplomatic cables….This morning Ms Gillard said: “Let’s not try and put any glosses on this. It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks if there had not been an illegal act undertaken.”

“The Australian Federal Police is going to provide the Government with some advice about potential criminal conduct of the individual involved,” she added.

“People would be aware that there’s also the issue of a warrant relating to an alleged sexual assault in Sweden. What I would say about the publication of the WikiLeaks information is it’s grossly irresponsible.

“We’ve got the Australian Federal Police looking to see whether Australian laws have been broken, and then we’ve got the commonsense test about the gross irresponsibility of this conduct.”


AFP FOI documents. The AFP advised the Government that the evaluation had been completed and that the AFP did not identify any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction. The offences that were considered by the AFP included (but not limited to): Unauthorised disclosure of information by Commonwealth Officers under section 70, Crimes Act 1914 (the Act); Offences relating to Official Secrets under section 79 of the Act, being failure to protect or deal with prescribed information, including information in relation to a prohibited place (as defined in Section 80 of the Act); and Espionage or similar activities under section 91.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.


FOI for Cable from Washington to Canberra. ‘US:Australian American Relations a snapshot’ – The document is exempt as its release would or could reasonably be expected to cause damage to Australia’s international relations….Release of the material included in the document would, or could reasonably be expected to, damage Australia’s relations with the United States of America.


Diary of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, “Another consular issue rears its head: Julian Assange. And I decide to take this one head-on. Fed up with complaints from his family suggesting he hasn’t been supported by Australia and the opposition spokesperson saying the same thing, I stride out of an Estimates Committee in the morning-tea break to do a press conference and point out that he has had more consular support in a comparable time than any other Australian. Strictly speaking, I don’t know whether this is the case. But it is a broad, healthy truth that I don’t think anyone could disprove. I do it to needle his self-righteousness. Let him go to Sweden and face questioning for sexual assault and rape…. Sure enough, my needling has an effect.”


AGD FOI documents. Internal email from Tony Sheehan ‘Meeting with Jennifer Robinson 2.5.12’ – ‘Key Outcomes – Robinson outlined a list of issues on which she hoped the Australian Government would seek advice or assurances from the UK, US and Sweden (and which she said after the meeting she would also provide in writing). The AG said: she could not at this time commit to a particular course of action in respect of the list Robinson had provided; that Australia had no legal grounds to act preemptively though there may be some things we can do diplomatically; and that she undertook to consider the list of requests from Robinson and to seek advice from AGD and DFAT on what the government might or might not be willing or able to do…..’


Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador.


SMH news report. Julian Assange decided to seek political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London because he felt abandoned by the Australian government, Wikileaks insiders say. Assange’s closest confidants say they were surprised by his move but have no doubt that it was triggered by a letter from Attorney-General Nicola Roxon that Assange’s lawyers describe as an “Australian declaration of abandonment”. In the letter, to one of Mr Assange’s legal representatives, Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Ms Roxon made it clear that Australia would not seek to involve itself in any international exchanges about his future. Ms Roxon wrote: “Australia would not expect to be a party to any extradition discussions that may take place between the United States and the United Kingdom or the United States and Sweden, as extradition is a matter of bilateral law enforcement cooperation.” She also took the opportunity to advise Ms Robinson that “should Mr Assange be convicted of any offence in the United States ad a sentence of imprisonment imposed, he may apply for an international prisoner transfer to Australia”.


Insiders program (ABC). BARRIE CASSIDY: I want to ask you about Julian Assange now. How have you satisfied yourself that the United States is not interested in extraditing Julian Assange?

BOB CARR: Well, he’s been in the United Kingdom for two years. And the US has an extradition arrangement with the United Kingdom. There has been no attempt by the US to extradite him to their shores. In fact, there’s a view that it would be easier for the US to extradite him from the UK than it would be from Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning about something wholly unrelated, wholly unrelated to anything to do with WikiLeaks or state secrets.

When I’ve raised it, and I think I have raised it on two occasions with US officials, I’ve received no hint that they’ve got a plan to extradite him to the US.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But he talks about this grand jury, the secret grand jury proceedings. Can you be satisfied this is not happening?

BOB CARR: Barrie, there’s not the remotest evidence that that’s the case. There was one allegation that appeared somewhere of something called a sealed indictment. No US figure has confirmed that to us. I suppose you could argue that they wouldn’t confirm it to us til the last moment.

But can we just return to the crux of the matter? And that is that it’s Sweden seeking his extradition to face questioning about allegations of sexual assault. And that’s got nothing to do with secrets, with WikiLeaks, with political persecution.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But if you talk to diplomats, does it necessarily follow that the diplomatic community would know if everything that the Justice Department is doing?

BOB CARR: Well you could say that the Justice Department’s proceeding on this. And US officials in state or in a diplomatic mission like in Canberra wouldn’t be aware of it. Certainly that can’t be discounted as a possibility.

But I can say, what I’ve said to a senior US official: Assange is an Australian citizen, we’ve got an interest in this, have you got plans to extradite him? They haven’t said they have plans to extradite him. They haven’t been able to rule out that one corner of the American administration might not be considering it, but I would expect that the US would not want to touch this.


Julie Bishop told journalist Peter Greste in an interview for the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program that “We have continued to make representations to the Egyptian authorities that your (re)trial should not have gone ahead and that if they insist on trialling you in absentia then you should have the opportunity to give your side of the story.” Furthermore, that she “spoke to [Egyptian] foreign minister [Sameh] Shoukry on July 16 and set out quite plainly Australia’s position: that we wanted you to be able to clear your name, that we would not accept the verdict as being evidence of your guilt, and that it would have ramifications for the relationship and for Egypt’s reputation more generally.”  Ms Bishop said she was conscious Australia had “very little political leverage” with Egypt, and so began “a very concerted campaign of advocacy” which involved high-level diplomatic contacts with the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and countries in the Middle East.


ABC news report. Britain has refused Ecuador’s request to give WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage for a medical check after experiencing sharp pain in his right shoulder, Quito’s top diplomat said.


United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Report found Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and recognised that he is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.


AGD FOI documents. Internal email. ‘Press statement – Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK’, ‘Hi All, For information, the UN media release….included the following note: ‘The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The WGAD has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate. The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of its findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.’


Assange Consular file – includes interview with Jennifer Robinson, ‘…the UN panel decision has given a specific mandate to Australia to exercise diplomatic protection for an Australian citizen….it would be highly unusual if Australia wouldn’t support the implementation of a decision in favour of an Australian citizen. 


Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said publicly:

“I have now read the report [UNWGAD] and I am seeking legal advice on its implications for Mr Assange, as an Australian citizen.” [The Foreign Minister sought that legal advice from her own Department].


FOI documents  produced by the Attorney-General’s Department suggest that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) emailed that advice to the Attorney General’s Office on 9 February 2016.


Former Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, signed a Ministerial Submission from Jon Philp, former first assistant secretary Consular and Crisis Management Division and Anne Moores, acting executive director of the Australian Passports Office, which recommended ‘… not seek to “resolve” Mr Assange’s case following the WGAD opinion, as we are unable to intervene in the due process of another country’s court proceedings or legal matters, and we have full confidence in the UK and Swedish judicial system.’


DFAT was asked whether the legal advice obtained by the Department in February 2016 agreed with or accepted on balance the findings of the UNWGAD.


DFAT responded: ‘The content of the legal advice is confidential.’


DFAT was then asked:‘Does the Government and/or DFAT agree with or accept on balance the February 2016 findings of the WGAD in relation to Mr Assange?’


DFAT responded: ‘The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s findings in relation to Mr Assange are directed at the United Kingdom and Sweden, not at Australia. It would not be appropriate for the Australian Government to comment on the legal system of either of those countries.

7 June 2018

A final question was put to DFAT:‘Does the Government and/or DFAT recognise the legitimacy and independence of the WGAD and accept its mandate and processes?’


A DFAT spokesperson confirmed that: “The Australian Government is committed to engaging in good faith with the United Nations Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, including the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.”


DFAT FOI documents (DFAT officials visited Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy).

Mr Assange spoke at some length about the political developments in Ecuador, including the President’s offer to hand Assange over to the US in exchange for debt relief. He said the CIA was given access to interrogate former Ecuadorian diplomats who had returned home……

Mr Assange said he felt that since his previous visit his personal situation has changed but agreed that this was not a consular issue but one that should be addressed by DFAT through diplomatic channels. The Consul advised that we would report on today’s meeting and if Canberra had any further tasking we would act appropriately.


Attorney-General’s department internal email. ‘FYI – Assange might be evicted. Not sure if his lawyers will make any (not very convincing) arguments about Australia’s responsibilities to him but thought it was worth flagging.


‘He has remained on an ACCT, the care planning process for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide or self-harm, since his arrival at HMP Belmarsh [paragraph 345 Baraitser’s judgement].


Statement from Foreign Minister, Marise Payne. ‘….I am confident, as the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly confirmed in July 2018, that Mr Assange will receive due process in the legal proceedings he faces in the United Kingdom.


Australian High Commission correspondence to HMP Belmarsh.


Consul & Consular officer visit Assange at HMP Belmarsh


DFAT report on visit to Assange in Belmarsh includes statement that ‘Prior to meeting with Mr Assange, consular officers met briefly with an Assistant Governor who advised Mr Assange was undergoing a mental health assessment as part of a prison induction.  The assistant governor confirmed they had no immediate concerns about his welfare, and were conducting an assessment as a matter of course.


Australian High Commission correspondence to HMP Belmarsh, regarding medical regime, specifically dental issues.


Letter from the Australian High Commission to Gareth Peirce. ‘…Mr Assange has provided our office with consent to discuss with you matters relating to his arrest and detention in HMP Belmarsh. My colleague and I met with Mr Assange last Friday to discuss his situation and the provision of consular assistance. In that meeting Mr Assange asked us to raise his dental issues with prison authorities, which we have done and are awaiting a response from the prison Governor.  Mr Assange also requested we make enquiries with contacts from the Ecuadorian Embassy regarding the whereabouts of his personal belongings, which we have also done and we are awaiting a response.  Once those responses have been received we will forward them to you for onforwarding to Mr Assange…can you please confirm that you have access to speak with Mr Assange? If not, we can also raise this with the HMP Belmarsh Governor.


Email from Gareth Peirce to Australian High Commission. ‘….I am grateful for the information as to the issues you have raised with the Ecuadorian Embassy and Belmarsh prison.  Both are urgent. Extraordinarily we have no response from the Embassy since the afternoon of Mr Assange’s arrest in relation to the return of confidential material including privileged legal and medical papers as well as Mr Assange’s possessions generally. Neither does the Embassy’s telephone nor do emails respond and on any rare connection with an actual person we are simply told the Embassy is closed.  We have sent two letters by post the second by recorded delivery.  It is obviously important that these questions be responded to-where are Mr Assange’s possessions, how are they being preserved for a swift return and why are we, long on record as his lawyers in the United Kingdom not having any response? The second issue – urgent need of dental treatment for an acute crisis – an infected root canal, which can produce life threatening consequences in the (very likely) event that the infection spreads – had not been attended to when a solicitor from this office was able for the first time to achieve a videolink conference with Mr Assange, a less than satisfactory means of communication but via which this essential information could be ascertained. In addition to raising the particular concern about urgent need for him to be seen by a dentist, we would welcome your intervention in relation to the current regime under which he is being held –of isolation in a single cell for 23 hours a day.  We are aware that Mr Assange is already affected by the years spent in the Embassy. Not only ought he as a matter of entitlement to have access to at least several hours of association with others each day as well as fresh air and exercise, but their absence in his particular case will compound what we know to be a fragile state of health, mental and physical. May I thank you for your inquiry. We have not yet had any in person legal visit and the earliest such a visit is offered by Belmarsh is next Friday, more than 2 weeks after Mr Assange’s arrest…..


From Baraitser’s judgement.  Half of a razor blade was found in his cell, inside a cupboard and concealed under some underwear.


Australian High Commission correspondence to HMP Belmarsh, following up on letter of 18 April re medical regime.


Nils Melzer visited Assange with two medical experts to run the Istanbul Protocol. His “capacity to focus and coordinate have been clearly affected. He was “extremely jumpy and stressed.”


Email from the First Secretary & Consul Australian High Commission to Gareth Peirce.  The High Commissioner has today received a response from the Ambassador of Ecuador to the UK.  In his response the Ambassador advises that all material documents and objects left by Mr Assange in the Embassy are currently under the authority and jurisdiction of the Judicial System of the Republic of Ecuador. As we are unable to intervene in another country’s legal matters we are unable to take this matter any further and refer the matter to you as Mr Assange’s legal representatives.


DFAT report following visit to Assange….Assange expressed concern about surviving the current process and fears that he would die if taken to the United States…..Consular officers noticed that he had appeared to have lost weight….Assange stated he had not been able to eat for a long period and was now only eating small amounts of food….


From Baraitser’s  judgement.  ACCT review carried out at 2.30 pm on 18.5.19. Admission to health care wing.  Assange finding it hard to control his thoughts of self-harm and suicide.


From Baraitser’s judgement. ACCT review stated Assange was finding it hard to control thoughts of self-harm and suicide.  In the healthcare wing, concerns about his health and his suicidality led to a plan for him to be monitored with observations and nocturnal checks.


Redacted entry in Assange consular file.


Letter from the Head of Healthcare – HMP Belmarsh.  ‘Thank you for your letter dated 7 May regarding Mr Assange’s healthcare. I can confirm that I have spoken personally with Mr Assange (18.4.2019) and I have also received a letter from Mr Assange detailing his healthcare concerns with his dental complaint being most urgent. Mr Assange was seen by our dental team (24.4.2019) and has also received a full review from one of our resident GP’s (22.4.2019) to address any outstanding healthcare issues. I note in your letter that you mention Mr Koutsoulis advising Mr Assange’s legal team that Mr Assange has a legal visit booked for every available day, I have spoken with Mr Koutsoulis and he has advised me that the days Mr Assange’s legal could not book a legal visit was due to legal visits being fully booked for other prisoners and their legal team or Mr Assange having a social visit already booked. I see from our system that Mr Assange does have two legal visits in the coming days, Thursday 23rd May and Friday 24th May.


Guardian article. Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, “Carr said Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, “needs to protect herself from the charge that she’s failed in her duty to protect the life of an Australian citizen”.

“Therefore I would imagine that DFAT [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] will provide her with talking points to conversations with her British, Swedish and indeed American counterparts.

“Not to do so would leave the minister exposed to withering criticism that they did not take all appropriate action that might have made a difference, mainly before the British court makes a decision.”


Assange consular file.  DFAT entry includes Statement from Wikileaks announcing grave concerns about the health of Assange. 


Cable from Canberra to London (consular file). Wikileaks has tweeted today that Assange has been moved to the health ward and this it holds ‘grave concerns’ for his health.  Grateful post contact the prison and attempt to ascertain the veracity of the report and obtain an update on his health and well being.


Australian High Commission correspondence to HMP Belmarsh, following up on letters of 18 April  and 7 May re medical regime and seeking updates on media reporting of transfer to medical ward.


Nils Melzer – Assange is suffering from psychological torture


DFAT Statement on Julian Assange

We reject any suggestion by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture that the Australian Government is complicit in psychological torture or has shown a lack of consular support for Mr Assange. The Special Rapporteur has not been in contact with the Australian Government to raise these concerns directly.

The Australian Government is a staunch defender of human rights and a strong advocate for humane treatment in the course of judicial processes. We are confident that Mr Assange is being treated appropriately in Belmarsh Prison. Mr Assange has advised us that he is being treated the same as other prisoners in Belmarsh.

The Australian Government continues to provide active and high level consular assistance to Mr Julian Assange. Consular officers from the Australian High Commission in London have already visited Mr Assange twice at Belmarsh Prison, on 12 April and 17 May 2019. The Australian High Commission in London has previously raised any health concerns Mr Assange has identified with Belmarsh Prison authorities and these have been addressed. Following media reports of ill health, yesterday, 30 May 2019, the Australian Government has made further inquiries with Belmarsh Prison authorities as to Mr Assange’s current health situation. Due to the privacy considerations that we extend to all consular clients, we will not disclose further details relating to Mr Assange’s physical or mental health.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to liaise very closely with Mr Assange’s family in Australia.

As with any consular client, we will continue to visit Mr Assange in prison, monitor and advocate for his health, welfare and equitable treatment, and closely follow his legal proceedings


DFAT FOI documents. TPs. ‘On 30 May 2019, one of Mr Assange’s lawyers told the media that he had been moved into the hospital ward at Belmarsh Prison. The Australian High Commission in London made inquiries to Belmarsh Prison authorities regarding Mr Assange’s health the same day.


DFAT FOI documents. Version 15. Assange TPs. The Australian High Commission in London has previously raised any health concerns Mr Assange has identified with Belmarsh Prison authorities and these have been addressed. Following media reports of ill health on 30.5.19, the Australian Government made further inquiries with Belmarsh Prison authorities as to Mr Assange’s current health situation. Due to privacy considerations that we extend to all consular clients, we will not disclose further details relating to Mr Assange’s physical or mental health.


Emails to UK Ministry of Justice from the Australian High Commission, re lack of response from HMP Belmarsh.

‘Post wrote to UK Ministry of Justice seeking assistance to obtain a response from HMP Belmarsh after post had written on three separate occasions and left messages to seek advice of Mr Assange’s welfare.’


Consent allegedly withdrawn for release of information [not the blocking of visits] to the Australian High Commission.


Letter from Ministry of Justice advising Mr Assange has withdrawn consent for HMP Belmarsh to provide information to Post.


2019 Consular file. Letter received from HMP BELMARSH – [redaction]. Name of Attachment 42 redacted.


Letter to Assange offering consular visit.


2019 Consular file entry. ‘Correspondence received’. Attachment ‘HMP Belmarsh Medical.pdf’


The High Commission received letter dated 23 May 2019 from the Head of Healthcare – HMP Belmarsh.


Letter to Assange offering consular visit.


Assange Consular file.  Mr Shipton advised conops that he learnt overnight that Assange was admitted to the prison sick bay and that Greg Barns (Australian lawyer) is in the process of writing a letter to the Foreign Minister requesting that DFAT use its diplomatic sources to seek an independent medical assessment (ie outside the prison).


Assange consular file. Cable No. ‘Urgent – Julian Assange Declining Health DLMF or Official Use Only’. 


Assange Consular file. During the telephone conversation, Mr Shipton advised Conops that Assange’s brother, Gabriel, had recently visited Assange at HMP Belmarsh and was distressed at his ‘deteriorating condition’. Mr Shipton further advised that Gabriel had since written to the Governor General and Prime Minister to raise his concern.


Letter to Assange offering consular visit.

September 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ‘Consular State of Play’ report. ‘….Imprisonment cases – We visit or contact Australians who have been arrested or detained overseas to check on their welfare, and raise any welfare concerns with prison authorities….’


Letter to Assange offering consular visit.


Assange consular file.  Email to Robinson regarding lack of response from Mr Assange and inability to seek updates due to privacy constraints.


Assange Consular file.  Consul advised that HMP Belmarsh does not have Assange’s permission to update post on his medical condition and without visiting Assange we are unable to check on his medical treatment and well-being or raise any concerns with prison authorities. 


DFAT report of court proceedings made no mention of weight loss or Assange’s ability to state his name or date of birth, which was wide reported.


DFAT’s Andrew Todd advised Senate Estimates that on 14 June 2019 Assange had withdrawn consent for the release of information to the High Commission


Assange consular file. Letter from Gareth Peirce to Australian High Commission [detailed and long] but includes ‘It may in these circumstances not be surprising that Mr Assange has not authorised HMP Belmarsh to provide information regarding his “medical treatment”; he is a person whose medical treatment has been grossly and unlawfully compromised over some time, including, disturbingly, even whilst he has been in Belmarsh prison, false information on at least one occasion having been provided to the press by very obviously internal sources.  He is entitled to confidentiality of such medical treatment as he may be given in prison or elsewhere….your comments to Ms Robinson that he has not responded to letters of course needs the whole of picture, for the most part freely accessible and already in the public domain, to be seen….We do not know whether any member of the Consulate attended the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this week on 21 October 2019. If so they will have undoubtedly noted what was clear for everyone present in court to observe (and was reported by the majority of press present) that Mr Assange is in shockingly poor condition and that he, a person of high intelligence, is struggling not only to cope but to articulate what he wishes to articulate…..We hope that what we are able to say as Mr Assange’s lawyers will be accepted by you as having been based on close observation, including by independent professional clinicians. At present, every professional warning provided to the prison, including by at least one independent doctor called in by Belmarsh, has been ignored….Insofar as it is possible for the Australian government to take action on Mr Assange’s behalf, then this would be welcomed. As indicated previously, we would ourselves be pleased to meet with you at any stage if by intervention in on what is now an impending crisis, you can contribute to its amelioration and avoidance….’


Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Legislation Committee Marise Payne: ‘He is absolutely entitled to due process, including legal representation in his legal processes themselves…’


Assange consular file.  Post has received a letter from Gareth response to post’s letter of 15 October 2019…regarding our offers of consular visits to Assange at HMP Belmarsh. The letter sets out the varied reasons why Assange has not responded to post’s offers and emphasises urgency of action on Assange’s behalf. In particular, Peirce refers to alleged breaches of legal privilege, (including surveillance of Assange’s communications and meetings with lawyers and doctors), and false information provided to the media from internal sources at HMP Belmarsh. Peirce suggests these are contributing factors to Assange’s unwillingness to provide consent for prison authorities to discuss his situation with post. The letter refers to Assange’s physical and mental constitution as ‘significantly weakened’ and states he lacks the capacity to engage with more than he is at the moment able.’ Peirce goes on to ask that the Australian Government ‘takes this communication’ as confirmation of an urgent basis on which to take action on Assange’s behalf.


Assange consular file. DFAT visit to Assange in Belmarsh. Assange stated that he is concerned about false reports from DFAT in the media that he has rejected post’s offers of consular visits. He said that Marise Payne has also released false statements to the media that he is being treated like everyone else.  Consul advised that the issue of consular visits was raised during Senate Estimates and the department responded that the post has made four offers of consular visits that have not been responded to, however the media reported Assange had blocked consular visits…Assange stated he was suffering from sensory deprivation and that he was dying. He said that his psychological state was so bad that his mind was shutting down. Consul asked when he had last seen a doctor.  Assange replied he had seen a doctor yesterday who was concerned about his condition. Consul advised that in order to raise these issues with the prison authorities Assange would need to provide consent to HMP Belmarsh to discuss his situation with post.  Assange said he had never provided consent nor declined it.  He added that he did recall seeing something about DFAT asking to see his medical files which he had refused.  Consul replied that we had never asked to see medical files but we had written to Belmarsh on three separate occasions and followed up with the Ministry of Justice…Assange stated the isolated prison regime made it difficult for him to think or to prepare his defence.  He said he had no access to a PC, he has no pen and therefore cannot write or do any research to prepare his defence. He said he is unable to receive any documents during his legal visits. Consul confirmed that the legal documents are able to be mailed to him.  Assange confirmed that this is true, however 100% of his mail is read before it is given to him, and that documents have previously been delivered after his Court appearance…..Assange thanked post for our ongoing concerns and visit and undertook to discuss consent with prison authorities.


Assange consular file. Letter from Australian High Commission to Assange. As we discussed in my most recent visit to you on 1 November 2019 of particular concern to us is the matter of your health and well being. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss these matters with you in more detail. Should you provide the appropriate consent for prison authorities to engage with us, we can raise concerns regarding your health concerns, welfare and detention within the prison system, with HMP Belmarsh. If you consider it appropriate, we can approach HMP Belmarsh and offer our assistance to seek an independent health assessment for you.  This would highlight any medical conditions and provide a sound basis for further discussion with prison authorities. Any findings from the health assessment would be subject to all applicable privacy and medical privileges. If you would kindly indicate on the attached form whether you would like us to progress arrangements for a visit, we have enclosed a stamped, self-addressed envelope to assist you to return it to our office….


Assange consular file classified cable dated 28.11.19.

December 2019

From Baraitser’s judgement. Staff recorded him sleeping under this bed as he did not hallucinate if he slept there.

December 2019    

From Baraitser’s judgement.  Depression severe in December 2019

December 2019

From Baraitser’s judgement. At the time of his December 2019 report, Professor Kopelman diagnosed Assange with a recurrent depressive disorder, which was severe in December 2019 and sometimes accompanied by psychotic features (hallucinations) and often with ruminative suicidal ideas….His symptoms in December 2019 included loss of sleep, loss of weight, impaired concentration and feeling of often being on the verge of tears, and a state of acute agitation in which he was pacing his cell until exhausted, punching his head or banging it against a cell wall. Assange reported suicidal ideas during this period, telling Professor Kopelman that life wasn’t worth living that he had been thinking about suicide “hundreds of times a day” and had a “constant desire” to self harm or commit suicide.  He told Professor Kopelman that he had called th Samaritans virtually every night and on 2-3 occasions when they had not been available had made superficial cuts to his thigh and abdomen to distract him from his sense of isolation…..


Classified cable in consular file.


Letter to Marise Payne sent from Doctors for Assange ‘Medical Emergency – Mr Julian Assange’


From Baraitser’s judgement. Assange returned to ordinary [prison] location.


Email to Assange’s father in consular file.  We were advised by the Ministry of Justice (by letter) in June this year that Assange had withdrawn consent for the prison to discuss his situation with the High Commission.  Later in June HMP Prison advised Julian would not sign the consent form to release information to the High Commission.  The High Commission has since written to Julian (with a reply paid envelope) on 5 occasions offering consular assistance. To date there has been no reply.


SBS news report. Gareth Peirce said her client had only been allowed two hours with his legal team since he last appeared in court in December.

Ms Peirce described how the administration of Belmarsh prison, where he’s being held, had been obstructing access to her client to the point where even US government lawyers had even been trying to assist.


Marise Payne’s response to letter from doctors for Assange

[From Baraitser’s judgement. His prison medical notes record numerous occasions on which he told the In-Reach prison psychologist, Dr Corson, and other medical staff (for example a prison nurse) that he had suicidal or self-harming thoughts, felt despairing or hopeless and had made plans to end his life. He made frequent requests for access to the prison’s Samaritans phone.]


ABC report. Assange and his lawyers were secretly recorded in Ecuador’s London Embassy.


Guardian media report. ‘Julian Assange was handcuffed 11 times, stripped naked twice and had his case files confiscated after the first day of his extradition hearing, according to his lawyers, who complained of interference in his ability to take part.

Their appeal to the judge overseeing the trial at Woolwich crown court in south-east London was also supported by legal counsel for the US government, who said it was essential the Wikileaks founder be given a fair trial.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, acting for Assange, said the case files, which the prisoner was reading in court on Monday, were confiscated by guards when he returned to prison later that night and that he was put in five cells….’


Foreign Minister, Marise Payne said she raised Australia’s expectations about Assange’s treatment with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during his visit to Canberra on 6.2.20 [FOI request, no documents existed.]

July 2020

Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at AUSMIN (FOI documents requested – redacted in full).


Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, Statement in relation to Kylie Moore-Gilbert

‘I am extremely pleased and relieved to advise that Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been released from detention in Iran and will soon be reunited with her family.

Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release has been an absolute priority for the Government since her detention.

The Australian Government has consistently rejected the grounds on which the Iranian Government arrested, detained and convicted Dr Moore-Gilbert. We continue to do so.

In full consultation with her family, Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release was achieved through diplomatic engagement with the Iranian Government. This outcome demonstrates the value of professional and determined work, in the most appropriate way for each case, to resolve complex and sensitive consular cases. I thank those dedicated officials and all others involved for their efforts.

I wish Dr Moore-Gilbert well in her recovery and her return to life in Australia. No doubt, as she recovers, she will draw on the same strength and determination that helped her get through her period of detention. I also commend the endurance, trust and resilience of Dr Moore-Gilbert’s family, friends and university colleagues throughout this period.

Dr Moore-Gilbert and her family have asked for privacy at this time.’


DFAT FOI documents. Assange TPs. ‘As you know, we have offered consular assistance to Mr Assange repeatedly, [redacted]…..However, today the Judge did mention she understood Mr Assange had made efforts to hide his mental state from others.


Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, Statement on Julian Assange. We note the UK Court’s decision in relation to the application to extradite Mr Julian Assange to the United States, which the Court made on the grounds of his mental health and consequent suicide risk.

Australia is not a party to the case and will continue to respect the ongoing legal process, including the UK justice system’s consideration of the applications for release, or any appeals.  We have made 19 offers of consular assistance to Mr Assange in 2019 that have gone unanswered we will continue to offer consular support.


Statement released by Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Attorney-General

‘Labor welcomes the decision to give priority to the health and welfare of Julian Assange.

Now that a British court has found that it would be unjust to extradite Mr Assange to the US Labor believes that this has dragged on for long enough.

While the US has the right to appeal the court’s decision, we call on the Morrison Government to do what it can to draw a line under this matter and encourage the US Government to bring this matter to a close.

Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who was convicted of leaking information to Julian Assange had her sentence commuted by the US President in 2017.

Labor expects the Australian Government to provide appropriate consular support to Mr Assange, as is his right as an Australian.

Given his ill health it is now time for this long drawn out case against Julian Assange to be brought to an end.’


DFAT FOI documents (Additional Senates). If pressed: If the US is successful in its appeal and Assange is extradited to the US and convicted will Australian Government support Assange in serving his sentence in Australia? Will not comment on hypothetical scenarios. Important to allow independent judicial processes to play out.  Under Australian law, prisoners serving a sentence in a foreign country can apply to transfer to their home country to serve the remainder of their sentence. Should the US’ appeal be successful, and Assange is extradited to the US and convicted, it may be open to Assange to transfer to Australia to serve the remainder of his sentence. A prisoner may be transferred between Australia and a transfer country under the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 (Cth) if: the prisoner is eligible, the conditions of transfer are satisfied, the transfer of the prisoner is not likely to prevent his/her surrender to extradition, the Australian Government, the foreign government, the prisoner and where relevant the government of any Australian State or Territory all agree to the transfer. Questions relating to the international transfer of prisoner’s scheme should be directed to AGD.

May 2021

Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken (FOI request – redacted in full).


Senate Estimates question to Foreign Minister, Marise Payne.

Has the Minister sought or been given advice about the strategic implications for the US-AUS alliance if diplomatic assistance is provided to the Mr Assange? I’m capable of making that assessment myself.

What assurances did you get that Mr Assange is entitled to fair process? Both the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State provided me with an assurance that would be the case, as you would expect in both those legal systems.

Have you read in full the 4 January 2021 judgment of UK Judge Vanessa Baraitser? No, I’ve read it in parts.

Are you concerned that he is a suicide risk if extradited to the United States? I’m always concerned about the circumstances of Australians overseas involved in Court processes overseas of which there are unfortunately many. Yes, Mr Assange is an Australian overseas and in those circumstances are matters for us in a consular sense.


One of the main witnesses in Julian Assange’s extradition case has admitted he made false claims against Assange in exchange for immunity from prosecution


Yahoo news investigation. CIA kidnapping, assassination plot.


Assange family member contacted Canberra DFAT office, “I’m ringing because I want Marise Payne to ask the Biden administration to drop the charges against Julian Assange”. She said “Does the government have any response to the reports yesterday of the CIA discussing attempts to assassinate or kidnap Julian Assange?” The DFAT person, said in response, “well just because it’s written in a newspaper doesn’t mean it’s true”. She then said,“but it’s confirmed that 8 former CIA officials” and then he (Chris) said “well the CIA has been accused of a lot of things, including faking the Moon landing.”


Guardian Australia also asked DFAT whether the US had ever briefed or consulted the Australian government on the reported option of the CIA kidnapping or killing Assange, but it did not answer the question. The department is believed to be reluctant to comment on unconfirmed reports.


The CIA declined to comment. Malcolm Turnbull -who was Prime Minister at the time the deliberations in the United States reportedly took place – told Guardian Australia on Tuesday: “The first I heard about this was in today’s media.”


Guardian report. Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, raised the case of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange with the US secretary of state during her visit to Washington DC this month, the government has revealed.


Pompeo: Sources for Yahoo News WikiLeaks report ‘should all be prosecuted’.


The Age ‘Very clearly a target’: Julian Assange’s fiancee Stella Morris fears CIA will kill her’. “The US was plotting to kill an Australian journalist, an Australian national, and Australian winner of the Walkley Award. Australia has to do something to save his life.” ‘Moris saw Assange in person on Saturday and said she was taken aback by how thin he appeared.’

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