PM: WikiLeaks Has Not Broken Australian Law

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds up a court document for the media after he was released on bail, outside the High Court, London, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released on bail following a week of legal drama over his extradition. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Police in Australia have concluded that WikiLeaks and its Australian-born founder Julian Assange have not broken any laws in his home country, the prime minister announced Friday.

The government ordered the Australian Federal Police to determine whether the website broke any Australian laws by publishing sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables that have embarrassed and outraged Washington.

"We have received the advice and the advice is that there has been no breaches of Australian law," Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters on Friday local time.

Watch: Julian Assange speak after being freed
Gallery: Ellingham Hall, Site of Assange's "Mansion Arrest"
CableGate Live Updates
Special Report: WikiLeaks

U.S. authorities are investigating WikiLeaks over the publication of the documents, which Washington says are damaging to its national interests.

Gillard said the leaking of the documents was "clearly an illegal act," adding that the leak was being investigated by U.S. authorities.

Australian officials have said they are assisting U.S. authorities in that investigation.

Gillard also said that Assange, who is in Britain fighting against extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, would be given consular assistance like any other Australian citizen.

Gillard repeated her condemnation of the publication of the U.S. diplomatic documents as highly irresponsible.

Assange was released on bail Thursday in England after being arrested there on a Swedish sex crimes warrant. An English court rejected an appeal by British prosecutors to deny his bail.

Assange is now free from jail under a strict conditional bail and has arrived at the English countryside estate of a famed British TV journalist where he will await further hearings regarding his possible extradition to Sweden to face questioning regarding the sexual assault claims against him by two women.

Standing outside the court Thursday evening free from jail for the first time in nine days, Assange read from a brief written statement in front of a scrum of reporters and onlookers. After the statement, Assange retreated inside the courthouse building and out of sight.
  • CBSNews

Comments