Julian Assange lawyer claims to have been placed on 'watch list'

 

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims she was stopped at Heathrow Airport and told she was on a watch list requiring official approval before she could return to her native Australia.

Jennifer Robinson said a member of airport security told her she "must have done something controversial" and that they would have to contact the Australian High Commission in London before letting her on her flight.

The Australian human rights lawyer was later allowed onto a plane bound for Sydney, where she is due to speak at the Commonwealth Law Conference tomorrow.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it was "not aware" of any restrictions on Ms Robinson's travel and added that its High Commission in London had no record of receiving a call from the British authorities about her movements.

Ms Robinson wrote on Twitter at 9.30pm last night: "Just delayed from checking in at LHR (London Heathrow) because I'm apparently 'inhibited' - requiring approval from Australia House dfat (the Department of Foreign Affairs) to travel...

"Security guard: 'you must have done something controversial' because we have to phone the embassy. 'Certain government agencies' list."

She met Assange - who is fighting extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations - on Monday, according to a Tweet from the official WikiLeaks account.

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), which is organising the conference at which Ms Robinson will appear, voiced concerns about the incident.

It said in a statement: "If these reports are accurate, then the CLA believe they raise profound issues concerning the independence of lawyers and their clients.

"The CLA points out that Article 13 of the UN Principles on the Role of Lawyers sets out clearly that 'lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions'."

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said: "We are aware of claims by Jennifer Robinson, a member of Julian Assange's legal team, that she was prevented by UK border authorities from boarding a flight in London because her travel was in some way 'inhibited', and that she would not be able to travel without prior approval from Australian officials.

"As the Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed publicly earlier today, no Australian government agency prevented Ms Robinson from boarding her flight at London's Heathrow Airport.

"We are not aware of any Australian government restrictions applying to Ms Robinson's travel.

"As an Australian with a valid passport, Ms Robinson would be free to return to Australia at any stage.

"The Australian High Commission in London has no record of a call being received from UK authorities concerning her travel.

"We understand Ms Robinson has today departed London on a flight to Australia.

"We are seeking to verify Ms Robinson's claims with relevant UK authorities."

Assange, an Australian former computer hacker, made headlines around the world with revelations from secret US military files and diplomatic cables released by his controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

He is awaiting the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, against being extradited to Sweden.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high