AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
SYDNEY: Julian Assange's bid for political asylum in Ecuador was Wednesday described by his mother as a "last desperate effort", as Australian lawmakers said he had lost confidence in his country to protect him.
The WikiLeaks founder walked into Ecuador's embassy in London on Tuesday in a bid to dodge extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, from where he fears he will be surrendered to the United States to answer an espionage case.
Assange's mother Christine applauded her son's actions, expressing hope that Ecuador or "another third-world country" would grant him sanctuary.
"This is the last desperate effort because he is a political prisoner," she told reporters.
"He remains uncharged and unquestioned on a crime which, if you explore it, has absolutely no basis. Of course he would seek asylum."
She said she had "no doubt the Americans are intimidating Ecuador right now to try and back off", and urged her son to stand firm.
"When I heard about it this morning I thought, 'good on you mate'. It shows a level of clear thinking given there are absolutely no proper legal processes in this case.
"I hope the third world can stand up for what's morally right when the first world can't and won't because they've got their snouts in the trough, rolling over for US greed and big business."
Australian Senator Scott Ludlam, from the left-wing Greens party, which has strongly supported Assange in his home country, said he had seen a translated excerpt from the WikiLeaks founder's asylum plea.
"Effectively it makes the case... that he doesn't have any confidence at all in the Australian government's willingness to protect him or to stand up for his rights," Ludlam told reporters.
"And he's extremely concerned about being prosecuted and extradited to the United States for charges that could see him in jail for life."
Treasurer Wayne Swan said Canberra had no information "whatsoever" about a pending US indictment against Assange and refused to comment further, other than to repeat vows of consular support.