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A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a sign, on the day the High Court is set to rule on whether Julian Assange can appeal against extradition from Britain to the United States, in London on March 26.Toby Melville/Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he was considering Australia’s request to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who had released troves of confidential U.S. classified documents and is battling extradition to the United States.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who has long expressed opposition to the WikiLeaks founder’s detention, in February backed a parliamentary motion calling for the return of Mr. Assange, an Australian citizen, to Australia.

“We are considering it,” Mr. Biden told a reporter who asked if he had a response to Australia’s request to end Mr. Assange’s prosecution.

Mr. Albanese said his government had raised the issue at all government levels in every possible way and would continue to engage diplomatically for the release of Mr. Assange.

“This is an encouraging comment from President Biden,” Mr. Albanese told ABC television.

“I believe this must be brought to a conclusion and that Mr. Assange has already paid a significant price, and enough is enough. There’s nothing to be gained by Mr. Assange’s continued incarceration, in my very strong view. And I’ve put that as the view of the Australian government.”

Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, said Mr. Biden’s comments were encouraging. Three weeks earlier, Mr. Pollack had said Mr. Assange’s legal team saw no indication of resolution to U.S. charges against him.

“It is encouraging that President Biden has confirmed that the United States is considering dropping its case against Julian Assange,” Mr. Pollack said in an e-mail.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr. Biden’s remarks on Wednesday.

Assange’s extradition was put on hold in March after London’s High Court said the U.S. must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty.

Mr. Assange, 52, is battling extradition from Britain to the U.S., where he is wanted on criminal charges over the release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables in 2010. Washington says the release of the documents put lives in danger.

Mr. Assange’s supporters say he is an anti-establishment hero who has been victimized because he exposed U.S. wrongdoing, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If extradited, Mr. Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in a maximum-security prison. Multiple rights groups, leading media organizations and the leaders of countries including Mexico and Brazil have also urged that charges against Mr. Assange be dropped.

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