Categories
Post Press Release

Letter from Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace laureate to UK Secretary of State Priti Patel

The Rt. Hon Priti Patel
Secretary of State for the Home Department
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

19 May 2022

Dear Home Secretary,

I am writing to you with deep concerns for the safety of Mr Julian Paul Assange who is facing extradition to the United States. I am writing to ask you to reject the US government’s extradition request of Mr Assange, a decision now under the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

On 4 January 2021, the British court barred Mr Assange extradition on the grounds of section 91 of the Extradition Act 2003. The court ruled that Mr Assange’s “suicidal impulses would come from his psychiatric diagnoses rather than his own voluntary act”, rendering “oppressive” in terms of the law to extradite him”. The Court recognised that there is a great likelihood that if extradite, that Mr Assange will end his own life.

The United Nations Official report also concluded on 1 November 2019 that “[u]nless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life.” The extradition to the United States will aggravate those conditions. Over 60 doctors from around the world raised concerns about the precarious state of Mr. Assange’s physical and mental health which included fears for his life. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute states that, in view of Mr Assange being a victim of psychological torture, his extradition to the USA would be also illegal under international human rights law.

The Council of Europe considers that Mr Assange’s treatment to be among “the most severe threats to media freedom”.

Amnesty International, press freedom and human rights organisations, legal, medical and other professional associations have called for Mr Assange’s immediate release. They condemned the illegality of this extradition proceedings under procedural (breach of the right of a fair trial) and material grounds.

The EU Parliament, Parliamentarians, head of states and former head of States world-wide, legal practitioners and legal academics express concerns about the violations of Mr. Julian Assange’s fundamental human, civil and political rights and the precedent his persecution is setting.

I join the growing collective concerns, which have been expressed about the violations of Mr. Julian Assange’s fundamental human, civil and political rights and the precedent his persecution is setting for press freedom and the assertion of the universal jurisdiction of the United States of America. The United Kingdom, a sovereign country with longstanding tradition in the upholding the rule of law, should refuse the abusive and illegal extradition request by the United States of America.

Former Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May, has correctly halted Gary McKinnon’s extradition in recognition of the same psychiatric condition as Mr Assange.

There could be potentially fatal consequences if the United Kingdom chooses to pursue this extradition. Therefore, I urge you, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to uphold the rule of law and reject the extradition order.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Nobel Prize for Peace

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Post

Members of the European Parliament call for the immediate release of Julian Assange

12 May 2022, Brussels

At the initiative of PCP MEPs in the European Parliament (EP), 45 MEPs from various EP political groups call for the immediate release of Julian Assange.

The attached text appeals to the UK Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Ms. Priti Patel, to refuse the extradition of Julian Assange to the US and to the US Attorney General, Merrick B. Garland to drop the charges against Julian Assange with a view to his immediate release.

APPEAL

To the UK Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Priti Patel
To United States Attorney General Merrick B. Garland

The British court’s decision to authorize Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States of America is a matter of greater concern.

It is important to remember that Julian Assange’s extradition request to the US had previously been refused on the grounds that there were risks to his life.

It is also recalled that in the opinion of a United Nations Special Rapporteur, Julian Assange is arbitrarily imprisoned and “has been deliberately exposed, over a number of years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the effects of which cumulative effects can only be described as psychological torture’.

The same rapporteur expresses concern that in the United States of America, Julian Assange faces the real risk of serious violations of his rights, including freedom of expression, a fair trial, the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading.

Julian Assange’s case is linked to the disclosure of information considered confidential, in particular about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which exposed violations of international law, some of which amounted to war crimes.

The attempt to extradite, criminalize and arrest Julian Assange represents an unacceptable pressure, aimed at conditioning the publication of information of public interest. An attempt that cannot be dissociated from the processes of concentration of ownership and control of the media by transnational corporations, together with the increase in the precariousness of journalists’ labor relations, which constitutes a serious threat to pluralism, freedom of the press , expression and information.

Therefore, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament appeal:

  • To the British authorities, and in particular to Secretary of State Priti Patel, to refuse the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States of America;
  • The Administration of the United States of America to close the charges against Julian Assange;
  • To the immediate release of Julian Assage;

João PIMENTA LOPES
Sandra PEREIRA
Kateřina KONEČNÁ
Luke Ming FLANAGAN
Sira REGO
Mick WALLACE
Özlem DEMIREL
Stelios KOULOGLOU
Marisa MATIAS
Rosa D’AMATO
José GUSMÃO
Tatjana ŽDANOKA
Giorgos GEORGIOU
Saskia BRICMONT
Milan BRGLEZ
Maria ARENA
Patrick BREYER
Ivan Vilibor SINČIĆ
Manu PINEDA
Dino GIARRUSSO
Pernando BARRENA ARZA
Eleonora EVI
Carles PUIGDEMONT I CASAMAJÓ
Antoni COMÍN I OLIVERES
Clara PONSATÍ OBIOLS
Martin BUSCHMANN
Martin SONNEBORN
Niyazi KIZILYÜREK
Isabel SANTOS
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD
Anne-Sophie PELLETIER
Emmanuel MAUREL
Dietmar KÖSTER
Mikuláš PEKSA
Karen MELCHIOR
Ignazio CORRAO
Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP
Idoia VILLANUEVA RUIZ
Konstantinos ARVANITIS
Pierre LARROUTUROU
Eva KAILI
Marc BOTENGA
Miguel URBÁN CRESPO
Helmut SCHOLZ
Anja HAZEKAMP
Eleonora FORENZA (Ex Deputada do PE)

Originally published on pcp.pt.

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Journalists launch a manifesto in Brazil against the extradition of Julian Assange on World Press Freedom Day

Assange’s imprisonment and threat to extradite him are
assaults on press freedom around the world

On 3 May 2022, World Press Freedom Day, journalists around
the world make it their duty to pay tribute to Julian Assange.

Through his struggle, determination and example, Assange has
been instrumental to advancing knowledge and protecting the
right to information around the world.

Incarcerated in a maximum security prison in England and
threatened with extradition to the United States, where he
could face life imprisonment and the death penalty, his “crime”
is well known. He revealed secrets of the war machines of the
great powers, in particular the US empire and close allies.

He exposed lies, unmasked false heroes, and uncovered shady
dealings between governments. He verified allegations of
execution and torture of prisoners and journalists.

In an example of professional rigour, his revelations were
always accompanied by extensive documentation, photos and
videos whose veracity was never questioned.

This is the tragedy of freedom of the press on this May 3, 2022.
Assange is being persecuted – and may lose his life – because he
dared to tell the truth. He did not misrepresent the facts, he did
not omit, he did not lie or deceive. Nor did he lack the courage
to denounce what he discovered. He merely fulfilled his duty to
state the harsh reality of this 21st century of ours.

Because of the responsibilities he took on, because of the risks
he faced, Assange’s stay in prison represents a step towards the
creation of a state of exception on a global scale. A state,
compatible with a new international disorder that is already on
the horizon, threatening the freedom of men and women and
the self-determination of peoples.

In the name of his right to freedom – and for the preservation
of conquests that concern all of humanity – there is only one
right measure to take: Free Julian Assange now.

Brazilian Association of Journalism Education – ABEJ
Brazilian Press Association – ABI
Brazilian Association of Digital Media – ABMD
Brazilian Association of Journalism Researchers – SBPJOR
Association of Journalism Professionals – APJor
Centro Acadêmico Benedito Paixão – Journalism – PUC-SP
Centro Acadêmico Vladimir Herzog – Journalism – Cásper Líbero
National Federation of Journalists – FENAJ
Vladimir Herzog Institute – IVH
Brazilian Network of Environmental Journalism – RBJA
Network of Journalists for Diversity in Communication – Black
Journalists (Rede de Jornalistas pela Diversidade na
Comunicação – Jornalistas Pretos)
Union of Professional Journalists of Minas Gerais – SJMG
Union of Professional Journalist of Noth Paraná – Sindijor –
Paraná
Union of Professional Day Laborers in the State of São Paulo –
SJSP
Union of Professional Journalists of Rio de Janeiro – SJPERJ
Union of Professional Journalists of Bahia – SinjorBA

Media:
Jornalistas Livres
Inteligência Brasil Imprensa – IBI
Jornal 360
Media Quatro

Brazil – May 3, 2022

Categories
Events

Hacking Justice – Cinema Film Screening and Q&A

The documentary “Hacking Justice: Julian Assange” has been broadcast on several European television outlets and shown at Film Festivals around the world.

Directors: Clara López Rubio, Juan Pancorbo

When: 18 May, Doors 6pm GMT

Where: Curzon Soho Cinema, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5DY

Q&A with: Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange, UK Member of Parliament Apsana Begum and the film director Clara López Rubio.

The future of Julian Assange — and of investigative journalism — is now being decided by the British Home Secretary. If the WikiLeaks founder is extradited to the United States, he will face a sentence of up to 175 years for publishing US war crimes including torture, murder and human rights abuses.

For his lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, the pioneer of Universal Justice, much more is at stake than the freedom of an independent journalist and publisher. As head of Assange’s legal team, Garzón warns that the growing influence of intelligence services puts freedom of information, our right to know what our governments are doing, and democracy at risk.

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Post

Letter from 25 French deputies to President Macron – Find a solution with the USA to free Assange and defend the freedom to inform

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Post

Council of Europe – Extradition proceedings of Julian Assange pose global threat to press freedom

Annual Report 2022 by the partner organisations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists.

The case of Julian Assange has been particularly scrutinised. The Wikileaks founder has been in detention since April 2019 in the UK. Press freedom groups consider the US extradition proceedings, based on the US 1917 Espionage Act, as a global threat to national security reporting and whistleblowing, especially relating to actions taken by the military in situations of conflict that might amount to war crimes.

Journalists and lawyers, fear that it could set a dangerous precedent in the US where national security journalism has been largely protected by the Supreme Court’s 1971 landmark decision The New York Times. v. United States, which made possible the publication of the then classified Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War. However, the extra-territorial application of the US Espionage Act could also threaten any journalist anywhere for publishing classified US information. As the International Bar Association’s US correspondent Michael Goldhaber contends, it could “leave future publishers of intelligence leaks at the mercy of prosecutorial discretion”. A guilty verdict would also embolden governments around the world and give them a handy excuse to criminalise the release of national security or information about human rights abuses which have a clear public interest.

Read the full report here.

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Post

Cross Party group of 37 German parliamentarians call to stop extradition of Julian Assange on World Press Freedom day

Members of the German Bundestag

To:

Mr Richard Burgon MP
Mr David Davis MP
Ms Diane Abbot MP
Ms Caroline Lucas MP
Mr Tommy Sheppard Mp
Mr John McDonnell MP
Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP
Mr Kenny MacAskill MP
Ms Apsana Begum MP
Mr Ian Byrne MP
Mr Neale Hanvey MP
Ms Bell Addy-Ribeiro MP

Ms Claudia Webbe MP
Ms Kate Osborne MP
Mr Ian Lavery MP
Ms Zarah Sultana MP
Ms Joanna Cherry MP
Mr Martyn Day MP
Mr Stuart C McDonald MP
Mr Hywel Williams MP
Mr Grahame Morris MP
Mr Ben Lake MP
Mr Tony Lloyd MP
Ms Rachael Maskell MP

Berlin, May 3, 2022

Subject: Concern for Julian Assange, founder of the platform Wikileaks

Dear honourable Members of Parliament,
Esteemed colleagues in the United Kingdom,

As a cross-party group of parliamentarians of the German Bundestag, we have the honour to reach out to you, and to ask for your attention in a case that is currently of great concern to us, knowing that we share a mutual concern for the protection as well as the implementation of internationally recognized human rights. We have closely followed the fate of Julian Assange in the past; however, the current developments in his case arouse our concern all the more.


Mr Assange, founder of the platform Wikileaks, has not been granted to live in freedom for more than eleven years. Since April 2019 he has been imprisoned at HMP Belmarsh where he is waiting for the United Kingdom’s decision on his extradition requested by the United States of America. Because of his investigative journalistic work, including exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, he faces charges of up to 175 years in prison in the United States.

A free press, to which both the United Kingdom and Germany have committed, is a basic prerequisite for healthy democracies and a functioning rule of law. In line with several renowned human rights organisations, we are very concerned about the deterring effect that an extradition to and the persecution of Mr Assange in the United States might have on freedom of the press, investigative journalism, and freedom of expression worldwide. As elected representatives in the German Bundestag we consider an extradition as a fatal symbol for journalists and media publishers all over the world. Thus, we respectfully request you to use the means at your disposal to ensure that these potentially serious implications are taken into account in the final decision-making that now lies with the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt Hon Priti Patel.

Additionally, we fear for Mr Assange’s health as he currently remains and likely will remain in detention and prolonged isolation. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Professor Nils Melzer, has long warned that Julian Assange is showing symptoms of “psychological torture” and must therefore be released immediately. Mr Assange’s poor state of health was indeed the main argument of the British judiciary in its judgement of January 4, 2021, which prohibited extradition to an unforeseeably long U.S. custody. Yet, Mr Assange remains in solitary confinement in HMP Belmarsh, because the U.S. government insists on the extradition to which the London High Court eventually agreed on December 10, 2021 neglecting the ongoing concerns for his health. The renewed appeal by Mr Assange’s lawyers was not accepted.

We therefore kindly request you to ensure that the consequences an extradition might entail for Mr Assange’s life and health continue to be carefully taken into account. Human rights and hence the obligations according to the European Convention on Human Right to which the United Kingdom has committed must lie at the core of the final decision.

Esteemed Members of Parliament, in acknowledgement of the Resolution 2317 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and in the mutual recognition of our partnership and the bond of our shared values, we sincerely hope you will help building bridges in Julian Assange’s case. In your House and especially in your communication with the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt Hon Priti Patel, we kindly ask you to underline the consequences – for Mr Assange’s health as well as for freedom of the press worldwide – an extradition of Mr Assange would have.

We are looking forward to engaging in a conversation with you on this matter.

Please accept the assurance of our most distinguished consideration.

Respectfully yours,

Max Lucks MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Derya Türk-Nachbaur MP, SPD Parliamentary Group
Peter Heidt MP, FDP Parliamentary Group
Frank Schwabe MP, SPD Parliamentary Group
Sevim Dağdelen MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Jürgen Trittin MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Julian Pahlke MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Manuel Höferlin MP, FDP Parliamentary Group
Fabian Funke MP, SPD Parliamentary Group
Dr Gregor Gysi MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Deborah Düring MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Boris Mijatovic MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Erhard Grundl MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Janine Wissler MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Amira Mohamed Ali MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Tabea Rößner MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Axel Schäfer MP, SPD Parliamentary Group
Canan Bayram MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Dr André Hahn MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Dr Sahra Wagenknecht MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Matthias W. Birkwald MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Merle Spellerberg MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Helge Lindh MP, SPD Parliamentary Group
Christian Görke MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Misbah Khan MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Andrej Hunko MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Susanne Menge MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Anke Domscheit-Berg MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Dr Jan-Niclas Gesenhues MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Ates Gürpinar MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Johannes Wagner MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Thomas Lutze MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Kai Gehring MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Sören Pellmann MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Tobias Bacherle MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens
Dr Petra Sitte MP, Parliamentary Group The Left
Nyke Slawik MP, Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Post

Italian politicians urge UK government against Assange extradition

We, the undersigned men and women from the world of politics, journalism and academia, turn to you in view of the crucial decision that you are called to take with respect to the extradition request of the publisher and journalist Julian Assange, urging you not to accept this request. We believe that the decision will mark a fundamental page of the right to know, as well as the life of the accused and the condition of the rule of law.

 For three years, Julian Assange has been in pre-trial detention in a maximum security prison without any court having pronounced any definitive sentence against him. To them we must add another nine: it was Dec. 7, 2010, when he spontaneously introduced himself to Scotland Yard following a European mandate, issued by the Swedish judiciary, resolved with its dismissal. Since then, Assange has continued to face uninterrupted forms of detention.

 The founder of Wikileaks contributed to the understanding of the reasons why a democracy cannot and must not be at the origin of serious violations of human rights to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians already oppressed by the bullying of despots and the absence of fundamental rights .

 The main international institutions and organisations dedicated to the defence and promotion of human rights have spoken out in favour of the release of Julian Assange. These are the same democratic institutions, founded following the devastation of the Second World War, to which we look with confidence and which have for some time been presenting a request to which we join and renew them: the end of the detention of Julian Assange.

 On Dec. 4, 2015, the UN Group of Experts on Arbitrary Detention stated that “the adequate remedy would be to guarantee Mr. Assange and to grant him the executive right to compensation, in accordance with Article 9 (5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

 On Dec. 21, 2018, the same Group specified that “States that base themselves and promote the rule of law do not like to deal with their own violations of the law. This is understandable. But when they honestly acknowledge these violations, they honour the very spirit of the rule of law, earn greater respect, and set a laudable example around the world.”

 On April 5, 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, said he was alarmed by the possible extradition as the accused would risk suffering serious violations of his human rights, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, loss of freedom. of expression and deprivation of the right to a fair trial. On May 9 of the same year, Melzer visited Assange and found symptoms of “prolonged exposure to psychological torture.”

 On April 11, 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, said that the UK arbitrarily arrested the controversial publisher “probably endangering his life.” This statement is shared by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

 On Feb. 20, 2020, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, said: “Julian Assange’s potential extradition has human rights implications that go far beyond his individual case. The indictment raises important questions about the protection of those who publish confidential information in the public interest, including those exposing human rights violations. (…) any extradition in which the person involved is at real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment is contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

 Finally, on Dec. 10, 2021, Reporter Without Borders Secretary General Christophe Deloire said, “we firmly believe that Julian Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism and we defend this case because of its dangerous implications for the future of journalism and press freedom in the world.”

What we fear is, on the one hand, the extension of Assange’s detention, the consequences of which could prove fatal for the accused and, on the other, a warning to the press to refrain from collecting and disclosing information even if disseminated in the public interest. We are convinced that it is possible to allow public opinion to know the reasons behind crucial political-military decisions without this conflicting with the security needs of citizens.

 For these reasons, we appeal to you, Minister, not to give the green light to the extradition of Julian Assange.

Signatories

Gianni Marilotti, senator

Andrea Marcucci, senator

Riccardo Nencini, senator

Roberto Rampi, senator

Elvira Evangelista, senator

Luciano D’Alfonso, senator

Tatiana Rojc, senator

Sandro Ruotolo, senator

Maurizio Buccarella, senator

Luisa Angrisani, senator

Danila De Lucia, senator

Francesco Verducci, senator

Mino Taricco, senator

Monica Cirinnà, senator

Andrea Ferrazzi, senator

Nicola Morra, senator

Paola Boldrini, senator

Primo Di Nicola, senator

Silvana Giannuzzi, senator

Giuseppe Pisani, senator

Gisella Naturale, senator

Francesco Giacobbe, senator

Luigi Di Marzio, senator

Elena Botto, senator

Fabrizio Ortis, senator

Margherita Corrado, senator

Fabrizio Trentacoste, senator

Simona Nocerino, senator

Marco Croatti, senator

Nicola Morra, senator

Mattia Crucioli, senator

Emma Pavanelli, senator

Maria Laura Mantovani, senator  (33 senators)

Sabrina Pignedoli, MEP

Clare Daly, MEP

Mick Wallace, Member of the European Parliament

Francesca Donato, MEP

Martin Buschmann, MEP

Dino Giarrusso, MEP

Pierre Larrouturou, MEP

Ivan Vilibor SINČIĆ, MEP

Gunnar Günter BECK, MEP

Chiara Maria Gemma, European deputy

Carles Puigdemont, MEP

Antoni Comín, MEP

Clara Ponsatí, MEP

Rosa D’Amato, member of the European Parliament

Joachim Kuhs, MEP

Marcel de Graaff, MEP

Stelios Kouloglou, MEP

José Gusmão, MEP

Daniela Rondinelli, MEP

Ignazio Corrao, MEP

Diana RIBA I GINER, MEP

Marisa Matias, European deputy

Gunnar Beck, MEP

Laura Ferrara, member of the European Parliament

Özlem Alev Demirel, MEP

Eleonora Evi, European deputy

Vincenzo Vita, former parliamentarian and former undersecretary for telecommunications

Alberto Maritati, former senator and former undersecretary of justice

Gian Giacomo Migone, former senator and former president of the Foreign Comm. Senate

Luciana Castellina, former deputy

Aldo Tortorella, former deputy

Alfonso Gianni, former deputy

Gianni Tamino former member of parliament and former member of the European Parliament

Beppe Giulietti, president of Fnsi

Tommaso Di Francesco, co-director of Il Manifesto

Giovanni Terzi, journalist

Elisa Marincola, Article 21 spokesperson

Stefano Corradino, director of Articolo21

Valerio Cataldi, journalist

Paolo Barretta, Charter of Rome

Stefania Maurizi, journalist

Salvatore Cannavò, journalist

Pier Virgilio Dastoli, professor of EU law

Marino Bisso, journalist, NoBavaglio Network

Daniele Lorenzi, president of Arci

Danilo De Biasio, director of the Human Rights Festival

Lorenzo Frigerio, Free Information coordinator

Paola Slaviero, writer

Nicoletta Bernardi, computer science at the University of Perugia

Francesco Maggiurana. pianist

Gemma Guerrini, former city councillor and researcher, Aipd member

Originally published at italianinsider.it.

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Press freedom groups send letter calling on UK Home Secretary to free Assange

April 22, 2022 — PEN International joins Reporters Without Borders and 17 organisations – including English PEN, German PEN, PEN Melbourne, PEN Norway, PEN Sydney, Scottish PEN, Slovene PEN and Swedish PEN – in calling on UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to reject Julian Assange’s extradition to the US and to release him from prison.

The Rt. Hon Priti Patel

Secretary of State for the Home Department

2 Marsham Street

London

SW1P 4DF

22 April 2022

Dear Home Secretary, We, the undersigned press freedom, free expression and journalists’ organisations are writing to express our serious concern regarding the possibility of extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States and to ask you to reject the US government’s extradition request. We also request a meeting with you to discuss these points further.

In March, the Supreme Court refused to consider Mr Assange’s appeal against the High Court decision, which overturned the District Court ruling barring extradition on mental health grounds. We are deeply disappointed with this decision given the high public interest in this case, which deserved review by the highest court in the land.

However, it is now in your hands to decide whether to approve or reject Mr Assange’s extradition to the US. The undersigned organisations urge you to act in the interest of press freedom and journalism by refusing extradition and immediately releasing Mr Assange from prison, where he has remained on remand for three years despite the great risks posed to his mental and physical health.

In the US, Mr Assange would face trial on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which combined could see him imprisoned for up to 175 years. He is highly likely to be detained there in conditions of isolation or solitary confinement despite the US government’s assurances, which would severely exacerbate his risk of suicide.

Further, Mr Assange would be unable to adequately defend himself in the US courts, as the Espionage Act lacks a public interest defence. His prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any media outlet that published stories based on leaked information, or indeed any journalist, publisher or source anywhere in the world.

We ask you, Home Secretary, to honour the UK government’s commitment to protecting and promoting media freedom and reject the US extradition request. We ask you to release Mr Assange from Belmarsh prison and allow him to return to his young family after many years of isolation. Finally, we ask you to publicly commit to ensuring that no publisher, journalist or source ever again faces detention in the UK for publishing information in the public interest.

We request to schedule a meeting at your earliest convenience, and would be grateful for a prompt response. Please reply via Azzurra Moores at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) at amoores@rsf.org.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Vincent, Director of Operations and Campaigns, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia, ARTICLE 19

Mark Johnson, Legal and Policy Officer, Big Brother Watch

Dr Suelette Dreyfus, Executive Director, Blueprint for Free Speech

Daniel Gorman, Director, English PEN

Laurens Hueting, Senior Advocacy Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Ralf Nestmeyer, Vice-President and Writers-in-Prison Officer, German PEN

Index on Censorship

Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Séamus Dooley, Assistant General Secretary, National Union of Journalists

Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director, PEN International

Christine McKenzie, President, PEN International Melbourne Centre

Kjersti Løken Stavrum, President, PEN Norway

Zoë Rodriguez, joint President, PEN Sydney, and Chair of the PEN International Women Writers Committee

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Ricky Monahan Brown, President, Scottish PEN

Tanja Tuma, President, Slovene PEN

Jesper Bengtsson, President, Swedish PEN

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.dondo@pen-international.org


This was first posted by PEN International

See also: UK: RSF launches new #FreeAssange petition as Home Secretary considers extradition order


Categories
Post Press Clippings

One step closer to extradition: rights groups call on Home Secretary to free Assange

April 22, 2022 — On Wednesday, a UK magistrates judge ordered the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he will face an unpredented prosecution threatening 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

The decision now moves to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, to sign off on the extradition order. The defense have until May 18 to file an application to appeal the extradition order on the substantive issues —like a politicized prosecution and the threats to press freedom— back at the UK’s High Court. 

Rights groups around the world condemned the latest legal development and are calling on Patel to halt the extradition.

PEN International and 18 other press freedom groups signed a new letter to the Home Secretary, calling for Assange’s freedom

“We, the undersigned press freedom, free expression and journalists’ organisations are writing to express our serious concern regarding the possibility of extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States and to ask you to reject the US government’s extradition request. We also request a meeting with you to discuss these points further.”

National Union of Journalists: Assange’s fate in Priti Patel’s hands

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also spoke to protestors outside the court. He told them:

“There is still a chance for this Government to do the right thing, bring this case to a close, and free Julian Assange. I call on them to do that at once”.

 Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“This Government seems confused about press freedom. It promises legislation to make SLAPPs more difficult, but is allowing this extradition to continue, when it is clear that the US is trying to prosecute Julian Assange for actions that are commonplace for journalists the world over”.

Reporters without Borders launches new #FreeAssange petition as Home Secretary considers extradition orderReporters without Borders launches new #FreeAssange petition as Home Secretary considers extradition order

“Following a district court order referring the extradition of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange back to the Home Office, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has launched a new petition calling on Home Secretary Priti Patel to reject Assange’s extradition to the United States. RSF urges supporters to join the call on the Home Secretary to #FreeAssange by signing and sharing the petition before 18 May!


The next four weeks will prove crucial in the fight to block extradition and secure the release of Julian Assange. Through this petition, we are seeking to unite those who care about journalism and press freedom to hold the UK government to account. The Home Secretary must act now to protect journalism and adhere to the UK’s commitment to media freedom by rejecting the extradition order and releasing Assange,” said RSF’s Director of Operations and Campaigns Rebecca Vincent, who monitored proceedings on RSF’s behalf.”

Sign the petition here.

Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnés Callamard speaks to the New York Times

“The extradition of Julian Assange would also be devastating for press freedom and for the public, who have a right to know what their governments are doing in their name.”

Stella Assange’s speech outside of court

More reactions from human rights & press freedom groups

Categories
Post Press Release

Letter from Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace laureate

URGENT

A court in Great Britain ordered the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States. This decision leads to a death sentence for defending freedom of the press.

We call on all media, journalists who fight for freedom to speak out and demand the freedom of Julian Assange who with civic courage, publishes US documents that violate human and peoples’ rights.

Allowing Julian to be extradited is a threat to freedom of the press and a grave warning to those who question the repressive policies and serious violations of human and peoples’ rights committed by the United States.

Julian Assange is a victim of US policy of oppression for defending freedom of the press.

We reject the decision of the British justice system and demand the freedom of Julian Assange.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Nora Cortiña

Madre Linea Fundadora

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Three years since Julian Assange’s arrest from the Ecuador Embassy – Reactions & Statements

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, Federal President Karen Percy

“The charges against Assange are an affront to journalists everywhere and a threat to press freedom. “The US Government must see reason and drop these charges, and the Australian Government should be doing all it can to represent the interests of an Australian citizen.”

Australian Independent Federal MP Andrew Wilkie

Sevim Dağdelen, MP, Foreign policy & Arms Exports & Disarmament, Member of the German Bundestag

DIE LINKE is calling on the German government to work with the British government to end the political persecution of Julian Assange.

PEN International and PEN Melbourne

‘Dear Members of Parliament, Senators and concerned citizens,

At 11 am on the 11th April, 2022, a delegation from PEN International will visit the British Consulate at 90 Collins Street, Melbourne to present an Open Letter calling for the immediate release of Julian Assange and a halt to the extradition.

International Federation of Journalists

Amnistía Internacional España

Amnesty Australia

Monday 11 April marks three years since Julian Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He remains behind bars at Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK.

Together we can take the next step – pick up the phone and call your MP.

Stefan Simanowitz, Amnesty International Media manager

Amnistia Internacional Catalunya

Open Letter to US President Joe Biden from Progressive Leaders including Dilma Rousseff, Yanis Varoufakis, Roger Waters, Horvat Srecko and others calling to drop the charges against Julian Assange. With International Peoples’ Assembly.

Reporters Without Borders

Rebecca Vincent, Director of Operations and Campaigns Reporters Without Borders

Canan Bayram, lawyer and Member of the German Bundestag

Srecko Horvat, Croatian Philosopher

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek economist and politician

Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

Clare Daly, Member of the European parliament

Nicola Morra, Senator of Italy

Human Rigths Institute in Slovakia

Peoples Dispatch

Libertarian Party of New Hampshire

João Pedro Stedile, Brazilian economist

Defending Rights & Dissent

Code Pink

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Progressive Leaders call on US President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange

On the third anniversary of Julian Assange’s imprisonment at Belmarsh Prison in London, progressive leaders, intellectuals, and former heads of state from across the world including including Dilma Rousseff, Yanis Varoufakis, Roger Waters, and others, call on US officials to drop the charges against him.

Today also marks the three year anniversary of when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by the Metropolitan Police, arrested, and put in Belmarsh Prison. He is being held there while the UK courts deliberate on the request to extradite him to the United States where he will stand trial for the 18 charges, many of which are under the Espionage Act, and where he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years.

If extradited and charged, it would be the first time a publisher would be convicted under the Espionage Act and it would mark a dangerous precedent for the right to Free Speech and Press Freedom not only in the US but across the globe.

Assange who while in prison has already suffered suicide attempts, psychological torture, COVID-19 outbreaks, and a severe deterioration of his physical and mental health has stated that his extradition to the US would be akin to a death sentence.

Many, including the signatories of the letter, have denounced the persecution faced by Assange as retaliation for his brave work with Wikileaks to, as a journalist, uncover the truth about the crimes committed by governments across the world.

Stand with Assange, stand for press freedom.

Read the letter here:

Categories
Events

3 Brussels Events – Europe Free Assange

The Case of Julian Assange – University Lecture

On Friday 22nd April at 7:30pm CET Christophe Marchand and Dr Deepa Driver and Roger Waters will speak at a lecture about the case of Julian Assange, organized by the EU Free Assange campaign. This university lecture discussion aims to introduce the “EU Free Assange Concert/Rally” taking place on 23rd April 2022 in Brussels. A call to action so the people of Europe can voice their support for freeing Julian Assange, as well as a reminder that it is our leaders who are increasingly put on trial by this historical case.

Location

50 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Date & Time

Fri, April 22, 2022, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM CEST

Register to attend here.

Support the EU Free Assange Rally in Brussels, check out the fundraiser here.

EU Free Assange Concert/Rally

Free Assange Wave is organizing a gathering and concert outside the EU Parliament to call on EU institutions to take a clear stand to call on Freeing Julian Assange.

This Rally in Brussels on 23 April 2022 will bring together politicians and artists in support of Julian Assange and activists and friends of press freedom. If you would like to participate in the event as a journalist or NGO please contact us.

The world famous ´Chicks on Speed´ music Ensemble will be giving an Open-Air Concert, bringing with them their many fans to join the Free Assange movement, which is growing every day! This together with a fantastic film crew of the band including Prof. Florian Schneider (Film director for Arte & Kein Mensch ist Illegal), Joen Vedel & Mohammad Bayesteh (Camera men) who will live stream the Concert & Speeches through numerous channels across the globe.

Prominent speakers such as Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), Anthony Bellanger (International Federation of Journalists), Ögmund Jönasson (former Icelandic Minister of Justice and Human Rights) & Dr Deepa Driver (ICMA Centre) will make the voice of Europeans´ outrage clearly heard on stage between songs especially composed for Julian, as we face the Extradition of the Award-Winning Journalist for Peace, to the State that threatened to murder him.

Location

Place de la Monnaie, 1000 Bruselles, Belgium

Date & Time

Saturday, April 23, 2022, 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM CEST

Find the details for the Open Air Concert here. Register here.

Hacking Justice – Documentary Film Screening

The documentary “Hacking Justice: Julian Assange” has been broadcast on several European television outlets and shown at Film Festivals around the world.

The screening will follow with live discussion and Q&A with film’s director Clara Lopez, Deepa Driver and Davide Dormino.

Date & Time: Sat, April 23, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CEST

Location: Cinéma Vendôme, 18 Chaussée de Wavre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium

Register here.

Categories
Events

Hacking Justice: Julian Assange – Film Screening and Q&A

The documentary “Hacking Justice: Julian Assange” has been broadcast on several European television outlets and shown at Film Festivals around the world.

Directors: Clara López Rubio, Juan Pancorbo

When: Monday, April 11, 2022 at 6:00 PM BST

Where: Khalili Lecture Theatre(KLT), SOAS University, 10 Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG

Hosted by SOAS ICOP – an innovative front-line project addressing the democratic deficit between UK universities and UK politics.

The screening will follow with live discussion of invited guests, musician and artist Brian Eno, journalist Peter Oborne and the director of the film Clara López Rubio.

The future of Julian Assange — and of investigative journalism — is now being decided in the British Courts. If the WikiLeaks founder is extradited to the United States, he will face a sentence of up to 175 years for publishing US war crimes including torture, murder and other human rights abuses.

For his lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, the pioneer of Universal Justice, much more is at stake than the freedom of an independent journalist and publisher. As head of Assange’s legal team, Garzón warns that the growing influence of intelligence services puts freedom of information, our right to know what our governments are doing, and democracy at risk.

With privileged access to Assange and Wikileaks for nine years, “Hacking Justice: Julian Assange” follows the controversial characters united against the world’s most powerful state in a standoff which is not over yet.

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Stella Moris statement on UK Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Assange Appeal

Reacting to the UK Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Julian Assange’s appeal, his fiancee Stella Moris said:

“Just this morning on our way to school, our four-year-old son asked me when daddy will come home. Julian’s life is being treated as if it were expendable. He has been robbed of over a decade of liberty, and three years from his home and his young children who are being forced to grow up without their father. A system that allows this is a system that has lost its way.

Whether Julian is extradited or not, which is the same as saying whether he lives or dies, is being decided through a process of legal avoidance. Avoiding to hear arguments that challenge the UK courts’ deference to unenforceable and caveated claims regarding his treatment made by the United States, the country that plotted to murder him. The country whose atrocities he brought into the public domain. Julian is the key witness, the principle indicter, and the cause of enormous embarrassment to successive US governments.

Julian was just doing his job, which was to publish the truth about wrongdoing. His loyalty is the same as that which all journalists should have: to the public. Not to the spy agencies of a foreign power. He published evidence that the country that is trying to extradite him committed war crimes and covered them up; that it committed gross violations that killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children; that it tortured and rendered; that it bombed children, had death squads, and murdered Reuters journalists in cold blood; that it bribed foreign officials and bullied less powerful countries into harming their own citizens, and that it also corrupted allied nations’ judicial inquiries into US wrongdoing. For this, that country wants him in prison for 175 years.

Now the extradition will formally move to a political stage. Julian’s fate now lies in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel. This is a political case and she can end it. It is in her hands to prove that the UK is better than all of this. Patel can end Britain’s exposure to international ridicule because of Julian’s incarceration. It takes political courage but that is what it needed to preserve an open society that protects publishers from foreign persecution.

The cruelty against Julian is corrupting. It corrupts our most cherished values and institutions. They will be extinguished and lost forever unless this travesty is brought to an end.

The fight for freedom will go on, until he’s freed.”

Read the Supreme Court Application here:
https://dontextraditeassange.com/permissiontoappeal.pdf

Read the Supreme Courts decision here:
https://dontextraditeassange.com/supremecourtrefusal.jpeg

Read the statement by Assange’s lawyers here: 
https://dontextraditeassange.com/BirnbergPeirceStatement.pdf

Categories
Press Release

UK Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Assange extradition

UK Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Assange extradition. The case now moves to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to authorize the extradition.

Julian Assange’s solicitors Birnberg Peirce statement on Supreme Court Decision:

Assange application for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court

UK Supreme Court order refusing #Assange permission to appeal

Categories
Events

EU Free Assange Rally Brussels

This online panel aims to introduce the “EU Free Assange Concert/Rally” taking place on 23rd April 2022 in Brussels. A call to action so the people of Europe can voice their support for freeing Julian Assange, as well as a reminder that it is our leaders who are increasingly put on trial by this historical case.

In collaboration with DEA Campaign, the EU Free Assange campaign are hosting a promotional event where speakers invited can give a taster of the main event & encourage people to attend #FreeAssange Brussels rally.

Moderated by:
John Rees – national officer of the Stop the War Coalition, National Co-ordinator for Don’t Extradite Assange campaign;

Featuring:
Ernest Sagaga – Human Rights and Safety at International Federation of Journalists;
Jeremy Corbyn – member of Parliament of the United Kingdom;
Dr. Deepa Driver – member of the National Executive Committee of UCU (University and College Union)
Stelios Kouloglou – journalist, Member of the European Parliament – GUE/NGL
Ögmundur Jónasson – Member of Parliament in Iceland, former Interior Minister

On 22nd April 7.30pm (CET) a lecture will be given at the Free University ULB Brussels by Dr Deepa Driver & Christophe Marchand on: Europe, Justice & Press Freedom: The Case of Julian Assange.

Categories
Post Press Clippings

Julian Assange awarded Dr Karl Renner Solidarity prize by Austrian Journalists’ Club ÖJC

The Austrian Journalists’ Club ÖJC presented the 2021 Journalist Awards, as part of Austrian Media Day, Dr Karl Renner Solidarity prize to Julian Assange. His partner and fiancée Stella Moris accepted the award in Vienna on Monday evening saying “There is a dark cloud hanging over Europe, over Belmarsh prison in London, over the whole world. As long as Julian Assange is imprisoned, there will no longer be freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson also took part of the ceremony in Vienna. He described that in the Julian Assange case the truth has been imprisoned and those in power will stop at nothing to cover up their wrongdoings.

Categories
Events

Julian Assange: Justice and Journalism

20 February 2022

NUJ Manchester & Salford branch’s expert panel of speakers, to hear about the latest developments in Julian Assange’s case and find out what you can do to support him.

Chaired by:
Professor Chris Frost, of the NUJ’s Ethics Committee

with:
Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner
Tim Dawson, executive Member, the National Union of Journalists of Britain and Ireland
Mohamed Elmaazi, journalist, editor
Ian Hodson, elected president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)

Stop the extradition! Support Julian Assange!

Categories
Events

FPA Briefing on The Trial of Julian Assange with Nils Melzer – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

18 February, ONLINE

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor of International Law at Glasgow University and Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy started his investigation into how the US and UK governments were working to ensure a conviction.
His findings are explosive, revealing that Julian Assange has faced grave and systematic persecution, due process violations, judicial bias, collusion and manipulated evidence.


Melzer’s expert and compelling investigation puts the UK state into the dock, showing how, through secrecy, impunity and – crucially – public indifference, unchecked power reveals a deeply undemocratic system.
Furthermore, the Assange case sets a dangerous precedent: once telling the truth becomes a crime, censorship and tyranny inevitably follow.

Watch FPA’s press briefing with Nils Melzer from Friday 18th February, where he explains what he has discovered and why this is important now.

Categories
Post Press Release

Assange-Pak NFT auction reaches more than $50 million

9 February 2022

The much-anticipated auction of NFT collection ‘Censored’, a collaboration between political prisoner Julian Assange and renowned artist Pak reached more than $50 million today before the first part of the auction closed.

The collection consists of two parts: an auction of a single artwork ‘Clock’ (1 of 1) and a separate pay-what-you-like Open Edition. The proceeds from the auctioned single artwork Clock will raise funds for Julian Assange’s legal battle. The auction site is https://censored.art.

The Open Edition artwork generates a customized NFT based on the message entered by each collector. https://censored.art/message. Proceeds from the Open Edition will go to organizations chosen by Julian Assange and Pak that fight censorship, champion press freedom, or defend fundamental rights.
The Collaboration: ‘Censored’ [https://censored.art] is a digital art collection exploring the concept of freedom, and is a collaboration between Julian Assange and record-breaking NFT artist Pak. It was unveiled over two weeks ago. ‘Censored’ is a two-part collection. The first part of the collaboration is a one of a kind generative interactive blockchain artwork titled Clock.

The Clock changed daily as it displays the number of days that Julian Assange has been imprisoned. Pak has described the artwork as “dynamic and generative”. “Dynamic” means that the digital art piece changes over time. “Generative” means that the artwork is generated directly from the artist’s instructions on the blockchain. ‘Clock’ is expected to attract major collectors and NFT-world cooperative funds known as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

The second part of the collection is an interactive Open Edition [https://censored.art/message], which will also run for 48 hours. All proceeds from the Open Edition will go to organizations chosen by Julian Assange and Pak to fight censorship, champion press freedom, or defend fundamental rights.

The Open Edition artworks are generated by anyone who wants to participate and can be acquired “at any price you desire, even free” https://twitter.com/muratpak/status/1489875628304351238. Pak’s record-breaking collection ‘Merge’ set the record for open editions with 30,000 collectors and grossing US $91.8 million.

Both Clock and the Open Edition artworks are interlinked and transform in response to Julian Assange’s imprisonment or liberation.

Notes

AssangeDAO was loosely modeled on FreeRossDAO (https://www.freerossdao.org/), which raised over US $12 million to bid on the Ross Ulbricht NFT collection. More details about AssangeDAO can be found at the following links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AssangeDAO
Amount Contributed So Far: https://juicebox.money/#/p/assangedao
More statistics about AssangeDAO: https://dune.xyz/jonasssss/assangedao
Background Info: https://assangedao.org
Chat: http://discord.gg/assangedao

What are DAOs?

DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are organizations whose “articles of incorporation” run on the blockchain. They have proven to be extraordinarily effective fundraising vehicles, especially in short time frames. A DAO is a collective of people who organize online to pool their resources, skills, and time to achieve the stated goals of the DAO. The structure and objectives are determined by its members. The management of a DAO is then automated on the blockchain, allowing people from around the world to come together for a common purpose without having to trust each other.

The Creators

Renowned digital artist Pak is one of the highest grossing artists alive, known for pushing conceptual and stylistic boundaries. Pak became a household name in the traditional art world after Sotheby’s auctioned his collection ‘The “Fungible’ in April 2021, selling for US $16.8 million. In December 2021, Pak again made headlines as his collection ‘The Merge’ set a new record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist at US $91.8 million, surpassing Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit”.

Australian award-winning author and publisher Julian Assange is the world’s most famous living political prisoner and freedom of speech campaigner. The US government is seeking his extradition to put him on trial for publishing documents evidencing war crimes against civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as torture in Guantanamo Bay. Julian Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence if the US government gets its way. Press freedom organizations warn that the legal precedent will cripple free speech protections worldwide. WikiLeaks specializes in publishing censored documents of diplomatic, political, ethical, or historical significance. WikiLeaks is credited for sparking democratic revolutions, exposing corruption, war crimes, big pharma, the banks, and environmental disasters, and of bringing evidence of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings onto the public record. Julian Assange, who has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, has been imprisoned in London’s notorious Belmarsh prison for over one thousand days.

For more information follow:

twitter.com/assangedao
twitter.com/muratpak
twitter.com/wikileaks
twitter.com/gabrielshipton
twitter.com/stellamoris1

Categories
Post Press Release

Assange-Pak NFT raises US $39 million ahead of auction today

7 February 2022

The much-anticipated auction of NFT collection ‘Censored’, a collaboration between political prisoner Julian Assange and renowned artist Pak will launch today, the same day set by the UK Supreme Court for Julian Assange to file his appeal against US extradition.

  • The collection consists of two parts: an auction of a single artwork ‘Clock’ (1 of 1) and a separate pay-what-you-like Open Edition.
  • The proceeds from the auctioned single artwork Clock will raise funds for Julian Assange’s legal battle.
  • The auction site is https://censored.art
  • Both the auction for Clock and the sale of the Open Edition start today at 14:00 London, 09:00 New York, 17:00 Moscow, 19:30 New Delhi, 22:00 Hong Kong, 01:00 (8th February) Sydney.
  • The auction for Clock and the sale of the Open Edition will run for 48 hours.
  • The Open Edition artwork generates a customized NFT based on the message entered by each collector. https://censored.art/message
  • Proceeds from the Open Edition will go to organizations chosen by Julian Assange and Pak that fight censorship, champion press freedom, or defend fundamental rights.
  • One of the bidders on Clock, AssangeDAO, has raised US $39 million (12,760 ETH) to deploy at the auction.

The Collaboration: ‘Censored’

‘Censored’ [https://censored.art] is a digital art collection exploring the concept of freedom, and is a collaboration between Julian Assange and record-breaking NFT artist Pak. It was unveiled over the weekend.

‘Censored’ is a two-part collection.

The first part of the collaboration is a one of a kind generative interactive blockchain artwork titled Clock. AssangeDAO, one of the bidders, has raised $39 million to deploy at the auction.

Pak tweeted: “Clock (1/1) [Auction] A muted timer. It currently counts Julian Assange’s days in prison.”

Clock changes daily as it displays the number of days that Julian Assange has been imprisoned. All proceeds from Clock will go to support Julian Assange’s defense.

Pak has described the artwork as “dynamic and generative”. “Dynamic” means that the digital art piece changes over time. “Generative” means that the artwork is generated directly from the artist’s instructions on the blockchain. ‘Clock’ is expected to attract major collectors and NFT-world cooperative funds known as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

The second part of the collection is an interactive Open Edition [https://censored.art/message], which will also run for 48 hours. All proceeds from the Open Edition will go to organizations chosen by Julian Assange and Pak to fight censorship, champion press freedom, or defend fundamental rights.

The Open Edition artworks are generated by anyone who wants to participate and can be acquired “at any price you desire, even free” https://twitter.com/muratpak/status/1489875628304351238. Pak’s record-breaking collection ‘Merge’ set the record for open editions with 30,000 collectors and grossing US $91.8 million.

Both Clock and the Open Edition artworks are interlinked and transform in response to Julian Assange’s imprisonment or liberation.

The collaboration between Julian Assange and Pak was kept under wraps for months. On January 5th, Pak’s Twitter account @muratpak tweeted “nine hundred ninety nine”, signifying the number of days that Julian Assange had spent in prison. The following day, @muratpak tweeted “define freedom”, followed by “freedom as a medium” and linked to a WikiLeaks tweet: https://twitter.com/muratpak/status/1479233014957846534

Battle of the DAOs

The auction for the single edition is expected to bring about a major bidding war between DAOs.

One of the DAOs planning to bid on the NFT has already broken records. AssangeDAO (@AssangeDAO) launched at 22:32 GMT on 3 February. By Sunday night, it had surpassed the previous most successful NFT-buying DAO, ConstitutionDAO, which was formed to buy a rare copy of the US Constitution. To date, AssangeDAO has raised US $39 million (12,760 ETH) from over 7000 contributors. Contributions range from many small transactions of under US $10 to US $2 million at current Ethereum exchange rates. The median contribution is approximately US $600 (0.2 ETH). The DAO is still open for contributions and each contributor gets a share of the NFTs purchased by the DAO.

AssangeDAO’s mission statement is to “raise funds to help with his legal fees and campaigns to increase public awareness on the systemic failure of our justice systems” and “to inspire a powerful solidarity network and fight for the freedom of Julian Assange”.

US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: “The Assange NFT is doing real numbers. Very much looks like a protest vote against the White House’s abuse of the Espionage Act.” https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/1490367060827938819

AssangeDAO was loosely modeled on FreeRossDAO (https://www.freerossdao.org/), which raised over US $12 million to bid on the Ross Ulbricht NFT collection. More details about AssangeDAO can be found at the following links:

What are DAOs?

DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are organizations whose “articles of incorporation” run on the blockchain. They have proven to be extraordinarily effective fundraising vehicles, especially in short time frames. A DAO is a collective of people who organize online to pool their resources, skills, and time to achieve the stated goals of the DAO. The structure and objectives are determined by its members. The management of a DAO is then automated on the blockchain, allowing people from around the world to come together for a common purpose without having to trust each other.

The Creators

Renowned digital artist Pak is one of the highest grossing artists alive, known for pushing conceptual and stylistic boundaries. Pak became a household name in the traditional art world after Sotheby’s auctioned his collection ‘The “Fungible’ in April 2021, selling for US $16.8 million. In December 2021, Pak again made headlines as his collection ‘The Merge’ set a new record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist at US $91.8 million, surpassing Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit”.

Australian award-winning author and publisher Julian Assange is the world’s most famous living political prisoner and freedom of speech campaigner. The US government is seeking his extradition to put him on trial for publishing documents evidencing war crimes against civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as torture in Guantanamo Bay. Julian Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence if the US government gets its way. Press freedom organizations warn that the legal precedent will cripple free speech protections worldwide. WikiLeaks specializes in publishing censored documents of diplomatic, political, ethical, or historical significance. WikiLeaks is credited for sparking democratic revolutions, exposing corruption, war crimes, big pharma, the banks, and environmental disasters, and of bringing evidence of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings onto the public record. Julian Assange, who has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, has been imprisoned in London’s notorious Belmarsh prison for over one thousand days.

How will it work?

Both the auction of Clock and the sale of the Open Edition will take place on https://censored.art.

NFTs are typically auctioned over a period of 24 to 48 hours. NFTs are traded using blockchain technology and are usually sold on the Ethereum network. The currency is ETH.

The code for the NFTs will be contained within the Ethereum blockchain itself. This means that the computer code that generates the artwork exists on the blockchain and can therefore not be manipulated, corrupted, removed, or censored. This ensures data permanence and avoids the problems associated with some so-called ‘JPEG’ NFTs that rely on links to external servers.

Follow:

twitter.com/assangedao
twitter.com/muratpak
twitter.com/wikileaks
twitter.com/gabrielshipton
twitter.com/stellamoris1

Categories
Events

Assange case & Supreme Court Appeal Decision

On January 24 the UK’s High Court announced that it has certified a point of law for Julian Assange to be able to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The decision comes after Assange raised three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases. However it’s still up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it will review the case.

This Friday we will hear responses from Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner, Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief.
Moderating will be Suzie Gilbert, filmmaker.

When: 6:30pm GMT, Jan 28, 2022

For our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube livestream tune in here: linktr.ee/DEAcampaign

Categories
Hearing Coverage Post Press Clippings

Assange extradition argument certified for UK Supreme Court appeal

24 January 2022

In an extremely brief court hearing in London this morning, the UK’s High Court announced that it has certified a point of law for Julian Assange to be able to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court. The High Court ruled not to allow the appeal itself but to certify the question of what stage in the extradition hearing process ‘assurances’ can or should be introduced. Assange is now allowed to apply to appeal on that specific point to the UK Supreme Court.

In January 2021, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that it would be oppressive to extradite Assange on the grounds that it would drive him to suicide. The U.S. government appealed that decision, in part on the grounds that it should have been allowed to offer the district court “assurances” regarding Assange’s prospective treatment in the United States during the extradition hearing rather than afterward on appeal. The High Court overturned the lower court’s ruling, partially on the point that the judge should have informed the U.S. that it was “minded” to rule in Assange’s favor and allowed the U.S. government to offer assurances.

Assange will now appeal this point to the Supreme Court, which must first decide whether to allow an appeal hearing before setting a date. 

Journalists attempting to cover today’s legal proceedings remotely were provided with a video link just minutes before court was in session. However, they were never actually able to see what transpired in court, viewing only a blank screen instead. Those of us reporting on today’s developments had to rely on public tweets from those physically in attendance in London. 

Categories
Hearing Coverage Post Press Clippings

Explanatory Background Note: High Court Decision in USA v Julian Assange Extradition Proceedings

24 January 2022

Categories
Hearing Coverage Post Press Clippings

Julian Assange’s Supreme Court Certification Application

Categories
Post Press Clippings

The UK High Court will deliver its decision on Monday morning on the Assange case

The UK High Court will deliver its decision on Monday morning at 10.45am about whether to permit Julian Assange to appeal the US extradition decision to UK Supreme Court on points of law of general public importance. Julian Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris will be there to give a statement.

The judgment will either:

1) Certify that the point(s) of law raised by Julian Assange are of general public importance–thus giving him permission to lodge an application with the UK Supreme Court; or

2) Deny such certification, in which case the extradition order will pass to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to authorise or deny Assange’s extradition.

The judges making the decision about whether to permit the appeal to proceed to the UK Supreme Court are the same ones who heard the High Court appeal, LCJ Ian Burnett and LJ Tim Holroyde, and who reversed the magistrate’s decision refusing Julian’s extradition to the US.

The judgment will be read out at 10.45am, London time at Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand WC2A 2LL (Opposite Australia House).

Background:

On 10 December 2021, the High Court reversed the district judge’s earlier decision refusing the US request for Assange’s extradition on the basis that to extradite him would be ‘oppressive’ (s.91) because it would have a real risk of causing his death.

After ruling in favour of the US, Assange asked the same High Court judges to certify a number of points of law of general public importance in order to appeal to the Supreme Court. Only if the High Court judges certify at least one can his appeal be sent to the Supreme Court.

Questions arise of the fairness of allowing the US to wait until it had lost at the evidentiary hearing (the primary extradition hearing at the magistrate’s court, which Assange won), to introduce ‘diplomatic assurances’ when the US appealed its loss.

In Julian’s case this has extreme ramifications because the so-called ‘assurances’ contain clauses allowing the US to unilaterally reverse the ‘assurances’, so it would lead to the precise opposite outcome of exposing Assange to extreme conditions.

In Julian Assange’s case, anything he has said or done, publicly or privately, since 6 February 2021 could be used by the US government to “justify” treatment that UK courts have determined would pose a serious risk of killing him.

Expressions or actions that would trigger such an assessment to “justify” the extreme treatment are literally anything. For example, if Julian Assange said to me “I still believe in freedom of the speech” or “I dislike the way the CIA plotted to murder me”.

The CIA is the primary agency responsible for making the decision about whether it, in its subjective assessment, concludes that Julian should be placed in solitary confinement or SAMs or Guantanamo like isolation conditions, or in the harshest prison in the United States, ADX.

It is extraordinary that the CIA, the very agency that is known to have conducted an elaborate illegal conspiracy to assassinate the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, is the one who will be deciding over imposing conditions that UK courts say put him at serious risk of dying.

This is a good discussion about some of the fundamental questions of fairness that arise from the late introduction of US assurances at the appeal stage after the US lost, and the High Court ruling, which Julian is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If the High Court refuses to certify any points, the case goes back to the Magistrates’ court and thereafter to Home Secretary Priti Patel who has the power to refuse extradition. Assange then can appeal all remaining points of the original extradition ruling to the High Court.

The points that Julian would appeal to the High Court are numerous, involving issues of the highest public importance with serious implications for the future of public interest reporting and the ability to defeat politically motivated, abusive prosecutions.

Categories
Press Release

Stella Moris statement on Julian Assange’s Supreme Court appeal

December 23, 2021 — This morning at 11:05 Julian Assange filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court the High Court’s ruling that he can be extradited to the US on three grounds.

The High Court’s ruling in USA v Assange raises three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases.

On December 10th, the High Court upheld the Magistrates’ Court’s assessment, based on the evidence before her, that there was a real risk that, should Julian Assange be extradited to the United States, he would be subjected to near total isolation, including under the regimes of SAMs (Special Administrative Measures) and/or ADX, (administrative maximum prison) and that such isolation would cause his mental condition to deteriorate to such a degree that there was a high risk of suicide. These findings led the lower court to block the extradition under s. 91 of the Extradition Act, which bans “oppressive” extraditions.

However, the High Court overturned the lower court’s decision to block the extradition, based solely on the fact that after the US lost the extradition case on January 4th 2021, the US State Department sent a letter to the UK Foreign Office containing conditional assurances in relation to Julian Assange’s placement under SAMs and ADX. The assurances letter explicitly states in points one and four that “the United States retains the power” to “impose SAMs” on Mr. Assange and to “designate Mr. Assange to ADX” should he say or do anything since January 4, 2021 that would cause the US government to determine, in its subjective assessment, that Julian Assange should be placed under SAMs conditions and/or in ADX Florence. These conditional assurances alone were considered sufficient by the High Court to overturn the lower court’s decision.

Under English law, in order for the application to have a chance to be considered by the Supreme Court, first the same High Court judges who ordered Julian Assange’s extradition must certify that at least one of the Supreme Court appeal grounds is a point of law of general public importance (s.114 of the 2003 Extradition Act).

Julian Assange’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is therefore currently under consideration by the High Court judges. It is not known how long it will take for the decision to come down, but it is not expected before the third week of January.

For background, see Julian Assange’s filing opposing the US extradition in the High Court.

Stella Moris

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Hearing Coverage Post Press Release

High Court decision “Grave miscarriage of justice,” says Julian Assange’s fiancée

A UK court has overturned an earlier decision blocking the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States where he is accused of publishing true information revealing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and details of CIA torture and rendition. Julian Assange was not given permission to attend the appeal hearing in person.

The prosecution against Julian Assange is an existential threat to press freedom worldwide. Leading civil liberties groups, including Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, ACLU, and Human Rights Watch have called the charges against Julian Assange a “threat to press freedom around the globe.” Journalist unions, including the National Union of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists, have said that “media freedom is suffering lasting damage by the continued prosecution of Julian Assange.” He faces a 175-year prison sentence.

Responding to the decision of the High Court to overturn the lower court’s earlier ruling to block the extradition of Mr. Assange, Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s fiancee, said: “We will appeal this decision at the earliest possible moment.”

Moris described the High Court’s ruling as “dangerous and misguided” and a “grave miscarriage of justice.” “How can if be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?” she said.

On September 26, CIA plans to assassinate Julian Assange were uncovered in a bombshell report. The detailed investigation revealed that discussions of assassinating Julian Assange in London had occurred “at the highest levels” of the CIA and Trump White House, and that kill “sketches” and “options” had been drawn up on orders of Mike Pompeo, then CIA director. The investigation revealed that plans to kidnap and rendition Assange were far advanced and the CIA’s operations prompted a political decision to produce charges against him.

Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson said, “Julian’s life is once more under grave threat, and so is the right of journalists to publish material that governments and corporations find inconvenient. This is about the right of a free press to publish without being threatened by a bullying superpower.”

Amnesty International says the so-called ‘assurances’ upon which the US government relies “leave Mr. Assange at risk of ill-treatment,” are “inherently unreliable,” and “should be rejected,” adding that they are “discredited by their admission that they reserved the right to reverse those guarantees.” Amnesty concluded the charges against Assange are “politically motivated” and must be dropped.

Julian Assange and Stella Moris are engaged to be married and have two children, who are British and live in London.

Stella Moris will be giving a statement outside court following the decision; updates via @wikileaks

Categories
Hearing Coverage

High Court Grants U.S. Appeal

10 December 2021

Britain’s High Court ruled today to approve the United States’ appeal of the District Judge’s decision not to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, sending the case back down to the Magistrate’s level for his extradition to be ordered. Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris called the decision “dangerous and misguided” and a “grave miscarriage of justice.”

Lord Justice Holroyde summarized the ruling and explained that the High Court had denied three of the U.S. government’s five lines of appeal argument which dealt with District Judge Vanessa Barrister’s handling of evidence in assessing Julian Assange’s suicide risk upon the order of his extradition. The High Court granted the U.S. government’s two other grounds for appeal dealing with the so-called ‘assurances’ the U.S. purports to provide regarding the treatment Assange would receive in prison. 

The U.S. had argued to the High Court that Judge Baraitser should have notified them during the extradition hearing that she was “minded” to rule against extradition on grounds of oppressive conditions so that it could provide assurances before she delivered her final verdict. 

Assange’s defense argued in response, per the High Court’s summary, “The offer of assurances comes too late. They do not remove the real risk of detention subject to SAMs and/or in ADX, or the real risk of detention in ADSEG and at Alexandria Detention Centre. In any event, even if the assurances are admitted the appeal should not be allowed but the case remitted to the judge with a direction to decide the relevant question again.”

The High Court sided with the U.S. on this question, and found that the assurances the U.S. gave were responsive to Baraitser’s specific concerns regarding Assange’s prospective treatment. “It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently,” they write. 

In ruling to allow the U.S. government’s appeal, the High Court sends the case back down to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court with a direction for the district judge to then send the case to the Secretary of State to approve the extradition.

Responding to the ruling, Stella Moris said, “We will appeal this decision at the earliest possible moment.”

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Hearing Coverage

Declaration of Assange attorney Gareth Peirce on Prof Kopelman

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Hearing Coverage

Declaration of Maureen Baird, U.S. Prison Warden

Categories
Hearing Coverage

Defense chronology surrounding Assange’s family and Dr Kopelman

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Hearing Coverage

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 2

On the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, the defense laid out its arguments to uphold the District Judge’s ruling which barred Assange’s ruling on medical grounds. Yesterday, the prosecution attempted to undermine a renowned psychiatrist, admitted its prison assurances are “conditional,” and tried to downplay how harsh Assange’s US conditions would be.

Before the proceedings began, Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris clarified some misreporting about Julian’s condition. “Reports that Assange didn’t attend court in person due to medication are incorrect,” she wrote. “He asked to appear in person. The request was rejected. The medication interfering with his ability to follow has nothing to do with the fact he wasn’t permitted to attend court.”

Edward Fitzgerald, Barrister for the defense, addressed grounds 1, 3, and 4 of the U.S. appeal, all dealing with evidence surrounding Assange’s mental health and whether his psychiatric condition and prospective treatment are so oppressive so as to render an extradition unjust. In the afternoon, Mark Summers QC addressed grounds 2 and 5, comprising the U.S.’s claims of assurances that Assange wouldn’t be placed in the most severe and isolating conditions in a U.S. prison. 

Fitzgerald argued that in her January 4, 2021 ruling, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser carefully weighed defense and prosecution testimony and evidence, applied the appropriate test based on relevant case law (Turner v. USA), and reasonably found overwhelming evidence supporting the finding that ordering his extradition would put him at grave risk of suicide. She found that Assange is severely depressed, that a “single-minded determination” resulting from his Asperger’s Syndrome would reduce his capacity to resist suicide, and that these factors combined with the prospect of an all-but-guaranteed oppressive prison regime and life sentence in the United States put him at grave risk of suicide should his extradition be ordered. 

To highlight just how justified Assange’s fears have been, Fitzgerald also reminded the court of the recent Yahoo News revelations, based on conversations with more than 30 former government officials, that the CIA under the Trump Administration made serious plans to kidnap and even assassinate Julian Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 

Because the prosecution spent such a considerable portion of yesterday’s proceedings homing in on the fact that Dr Michael Kopelman, the psychiatrist who evaluated Assange over the course of many in-person interviews, initially omitted the fact that Julian was in a relationship with Stella Moris, Fitzgerald again explained how misleading it is to call this deceptive. Kopelman made the court aware of this fact well before the September 2020 extradition case, the judge addressed this in her ruling, and she explicitly said that she “did not accept that Professor Kopelman failed in his duty to the court.”

Fitzgerald also countered the prosecution’s off-hand comment from yesterday suggesting Dr. Sondra Crosby’s testimony should be ignored because she “is just a GP and a friend of Assange’s.” He explained that Dr. Crosby is an expert on physical and psychological impact of torture who took an interest in the case due to its severe and unusual nature. 

Finally, the prosecution said that Dr. Kopelman was the only doctor to find Assange is on the autism spectrum. The judge’s ruling directly contradicts that. Dr. Quinton Deeley, a consultant developmental neuropsychiatrist at the National Autism Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital, “found that he met the diagnostic criteria for an autism spectrum disorder albeit that his was ‘a high functioning autistic case’ and Asperger’s syndrome disorder,” the judge wrote.

Assurances are inadequate and unreliable

After the lunch break, Summers argued for the defense that the prosecution’s “assurances” regarding the prison conditions Assange would face in a U.S. prison pre- and post-trial cannot be trusted, and are inadequate even if they could be. 

The defense argues that the U.S. assurances regarding prison conditions:

  • are late, having been given after the District Judge ruling (after the evidentiary stage)
  • address only 2 of the 7 bases for the finding of a substantial risk of suicide
  • don’t even adequately address the limited issues they purport to address
  • can’t be considered in good faith when considering the U.S. vindictiveness, particularly the CIA’s vituperative plans

The prosecution has argued that the judge should have notified them ahead of time that she was “minded” to find Assange’s suicide risk to be too high, so that they could have provided these assurances during the evidentiary stage. But as Summers points out for the defense, Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), solitary confinement, and ADX Florence were continuously points of discussion throughout the extradition hearing. The U.S. could have taken them off the table at any time. The judge addressed this very point in her ruling, noting that “[US attorney and witness] Mr. Kromberg acknowledged that their imposition is possible.”

But even taking the assurances at their word, “The newly proffered and conditional assurances do not in fact remove the real risk of detention on SAMs or on ADX. They certainly do not remove the very real risk of detention in administrative segregation.”

The assurance that Assange wouldn’t be subject to SAMs actually “does not prevent the imposition of SAMs at all. It expressly reserves to the USA the power to impose SAMs on Mr Assange ‘in the event that, after entry of this assurance, he was to commit any future act that met the test for the imposition of a SAM.”

By focusing so narrowly on SAMs and the ADX Florence, the prosecution is attempting to skirt the fact that U.S. prisoners not in those conditions face isolation in many other ways. “The assurances attempt to address one notorious prison regime and one notorious prison,” the defense argues, “and say nothing about any of the other severely isolating prison regimes or other notorious prisons in the USA about which the DJ heard copious evidence.”

The prosecution would later attempt to counter this point by suggesting the U.S. Bureau of Prisons don’t practice solitary confinement. Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) can’t be considered solitary confinement, Lewis said, because Assange would be allowed to visit with his lawyers. But anyone with any familiarity with U.S. prison conditions sees past these euphemistic disguises. The National Immigrant Justice Center, a U.S.-based human rights organization, writes

“The hole, AdSeg, protective custody, SMU, SHU—are all terms used to refer to solitary confinement, a form of incarceration where a prisoner is locked up for 23 hours a day with little or no human contact. Prisons often hide behind these rhetorical labels to avoid scrutiny under legal sanctions that prohibit indefinite placement in solitary confinement and require due process for those who are sentenced.”

The defense also notes that the ADX assurance “bizarrely promises not to detain at ADX ‘pre-trial’ – something which could never happen (ADX is a post-conviction establishment)” and “does not in fact prevent post-conviction detention at ADX.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that regardless of SAMs, and regardless of the ADX, if extradited, Julian Assange is surely headed for extreme isolation, pre- & post-trial,” Summers said. Even if acquitted, after pre-trial solitary confinement and a lengthy trial, Assange could be re-arrested under a civil complaint and would face isolation all over again. 

The prosecution has pointed to shorter sentences of Jeffrey Sterling (3.5 years), Daniel Hale (3.75 years), and Reality Winner (5.25 years) as evidence Assange might not get decades in jail. But the obvious corollary should be Chelsea Manning’s sentence, as she leaked the very documents Assange is charged with publishing and Assange is alleged to have conspired with her. Chelsea was sentenced to 35 years, which would amount to a life (or death) sentence for Julian.

This is particularly relevant to the US assurance that Assange could be transferred to an Australian prison. This assurance elides the fact that Assange’s U.S. case would very likely cycle through many appeals and span many years. “On the evidence,” the defense argues, “Mr Assange will most likely be dead before [this assurance] can have any purchase, if it ever could.”

But the U.S. cannot be trusted to keep the assurance about transferring Assange to an Australian prison even if it did have purchase. Summers cited the case of David Mendoza Herrarte, where a Spanish court was given assurances that Mendoza could serve his prison sentence in Spain if he were extradited to face trial in the United States first. In that case, the U.S. promised to send him to Spain, but when it came time to approve the prison transfer, the DOJ denied it. The Spanish court believed that the U.S. government was giving the assurance, but the U.S. then said that the prosecutor had only assured that Mendoza could apply for a transfer, and the DOJ reserved the right to deny it. 

Assurance cannot be trusted, Summers said, when it is caveated, it is conditional, and it is insufficient.” Furthermore, assurances cannot be trusted from the same government that made serious plans to render, kidnap, and even discussed killing Julian Assange.

The appeal proceedings then adjourned, at 4:30pm London time, with the judges closing that both parties have “given [them] much to think about.” No timeline was given for a decision, but we expect it to take weeks if not months. We’ll report back here as we learn more. 

Categories
Hearing Coverage

Assange Defense Appeal Arguments & Extradition Glossary

Categories
Hearing Coverage

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 1

Assange too unwell to view proceedings remotely

Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, which will turn in part on determinations about his health and risk of suicide, commenced with the news that Julian was too ill to even follow the proceedings by remote videolink from Belmarsh prison. Julian did enter the viewing box about midway through the morning’s session, but he appeared thin and unwell, and he could be seen leaving the room about an hour later.

Assange’s extradition was denied in January of this year when District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that ordering his extradition would put him at such high risk of suicide so as to be “oppressive.” The U.S. is appealing that ruling to the UK’s High Court on the grounds that, it argues, the judge misapplied evidence as to Assange’s mental health, and the U.S. government can assure the court that Assange wouldn’t be held under the worst and most isolating conditions if sentenced to a U.S. prison.

Prosecution claims Assange won’t face isolation in U.S. prison

As the appealing party, the U.S. government argued first, led by James Lewis QC. Lewis broke up up its objections to each aspect of the judge’s finding — whether Assange’s mental health condition puts him at high risk of suicide, his personal capacity to resist that impulse, how prospective treatment affects that risk level. He began with the so-called “assurances” that Assange wouldn’t be placed in ADX Florence, the U.S.’s highest-security prison designed specifically to isolate its inmates, and that he wouldn’t be imposed Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), which are applied, often in national security cases, to even further restrict an inmate’s communication with the outside world. The U.S. worked to restrict all of the defense’s objections regarding prison conditions to ADX Florence and SAMs, attempting to narrow its burden of proof by arguing that if ADX Florence and SAMs were removed from the equation, Judge Baraitser would have ruled to extradite Assange.

Amnesty International has warned that assurances Assange wouldn’t be placed in ADX Florence and that SAMs wouldn’t be imposed are “inherently unreliable,” as they contain the crucial caveat that the U.S. can change its mind whenever it chooses, if it determines that Assange has done something to warrant isolation or SAMs. Lewis admitted that these assurances are indeed “conditional,” but he said that they must be, “otherwise it would give him a blank check to do whatever he’d like.”

Lewis argued against the defense’s contention that Assange would likely face solitary confinement in pre-trial detention by claiming that Assange would be allowed to visit with his lawyers whenever he would like. (Note that even in detention in the UK, Assange has gone for stretches of several months without being able to communicate with his legal team.) He also floated the possibility that Assange might not be convicted at all, despite the fact that more than 90% of U.S. federal cases result in guilty verdicts, and Assange would be tried in the U.S.’s harshest district, EDVA (a district that CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who has been convicted under the same Espionage Act of which Assange faces 17 counts, refers to as the “Espionage court”). 

The prosecution then moved to Assange’s mental health and the testimony of Professor Kopelman, the psychiatrist who examined and interviewed Assange and determined he would be at high risk of suicide if his extradition were ordered. The U.S. contends that the defense conflates criteria for breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and those for breaching Section 91 of the UK Extradition Act, which prevent extradition if “the physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.”

As it did in the evidentiary stage in September 2020, the U.S. attempted to elevate the opinion of its own psychiatrist, Dr. Nigel Blackwood. over that of Dr Kopelman. Dr. Blackwood “accepted there was some risk of a suicide attempt linked to extradition but this did not reach a ‘substantial risk’ threshold.” In October 2020, Declassified UK reported that Dr Blackwood “works for an academic institute that is funded by the UK Ministry of Defence and linked to the US Department of Defence.”

Categories
Press Release

US/UK: “Drop the charges, stop the extradition and free Julian Assange,” says Amnesty head

26 October 2021

Ahead of the US appeal hearing on the extradition of Julian Assange Amnesty International’s Secretary General has called on US authorities to drop the charges against him and the UK authorities not to extradite him but release him immediately.

The call by Agnès Callamard follows an investigation by Yahoo News revealing that US security services considered kidnapping or killing Julian Assange when he was resident in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. These reports further weaken already unreliable US diplomatic assurances that Assange will not be placed in conditions that could amount to ill-treatment if extradited.

“Assurances by the US government that they would not put Julian Assange in a maximum security prison or subject him to abusive Special Administrative Measures were discredited by their admission that they reserved the right to reverse those guarantees. Now, reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange have cast even more doubt on the reliability of US promises and further expose the political motivation behind this case,” said Amnesty Secretary General, Agnès Callamard.

“It is a damning indictment that nearly 20 years on, virtually no one responsible for alleged US war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable, let alone prosecuted, and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail.”

The appeal hearing, scheduled for 27-28 October, is expected to consider five grounds of appeal by the US, including the reliability of assurances offered by the US after a lower UK court ruled against Assange’s extradition in January 2021. Amnesty International has concluded that the assurances are unreliable.

“The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange makes it clear that this prosecution is a punitive measure, but the case involves concerns which go far beyond the fate of one man and put media freedom and freedom of expression in peril,” said Agnès Callamard.

“Journalists and publishers are of vital importance in scrutinizing governments, exposing their misdeeds and holding perpetrators of human rights violations to account. This disingenuous appeal should be denied, the charges should be dropped, and Julian Assange should be released.”

Categories
Press Clippings

Amnesty Australia to Prime Minister Scott Morrison – Must Intervene and Demand the US Drop the Charges Against Julian Assange

25 October 2021

Ahead of the US appeal hearing on the extradition of Julian Assange, Amnesty International has written to both Prime Scott Morrison and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, urging the Australian Government to engage in a dialogue with the US and demand that all charges against Assange be dropped.

“The importance of protecting journalists and publishers who play such a crucial role in not only informing our public, but ensuring that governments are held accountable, has never been greater. In this respect, the charges against Assange and his subsequent treatment in Belmarsh Prison are of grave concern.”

Amnesty has received over half a million signatures from across the world, urging the United States to
drop the charges against Assange, with over 120,000 signatures added by Australians alone. These
are people who are urging governments like Australia to prioritise the rights of a free press, and
protect journalism around the world.

“I urgently request that you engage in a dialogue with the United States on the issue of Assange, and demand that all charges against him be dropped. Additionally, it is paramount that if Assange wishes, he be provided safe passage so he and his family can reunite safely in Australia.”

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Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

The Norwegian UNESCO Commission ask the Secretary of State to urge US President Biden to drop charges against Julian Assange

Oslo, 22 October 2021

Inquiry to the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the situation of Julian Assange and the ongoing extradition case that will go to court 27.-28. October in the High Court in London

The Norwegian UNESCO Commission hereby addresses Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt to ask the Norwegian authorities for help regarding the alarming situation of the whistleblower Julian
Assange. He is imprisoned in the UK pending a possible extradition to the United States where he is charged and risks 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act.

Commission members will ask the Secretary of State to urge US President Joe Biden to drop his extradition request and drop charges against Julian Assange. Furthermore, the members of the UNESCO Commission are asking the Foreign Minister for an inquiry to the British Foreign Secretary with a call for a halt to the extradition case and the immediate release of Julian Assange.

We believe it will set a dangerous precedent and contribute to the cooling of the public debate if the revelation of war crimes is treated as serious criminal acts in line with treason.

A number of media in Norway and other countries contributed in 2010-2011 to making WikiLeaks’ revelations known, and have thus strengthened both the basis for escape about modern wars, as well as freedom of expression related to sensitive questions about the legitimacy of acts of war. They could not have done this without Assange’s efforts to bring the dark sides of the war to light. It takes a lot of courage to defend freedom of expression by getting information about abuse of power in war. Citizens’ right to information is a prerequisite for democracy. Without a democracy based on enlightened citizens, abuse of power and abuse cannot be corrected and changed.
Julian Assange has defended the core of democracy here. Like several predecessors, he has taken on the role of whistleblower in this sensitive area, a role that is often criticized in the present, but which when the story is to be written in retrospect will be recognized as very significant.

On January 4, 2021, the order for extradition to the United States became public. Assange is charged with uncovering war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The case will be taken to a special court without the usual guarantees of legal certainty. In January 2021, the London court upheld the United States on most counts, but still stopped extradition because Judge Baraitser believed there was an acute risk of suicide if Assange had to serve a long sentence in a US high-security prison. The United States appealed the decision and was upheld in August. The judge ruled that the psychologist who presented his expert statement did not state that Julian had a partner and two young children, which in the US view did not make a suicide attempt probable despite doctors who examined him saying the opposite. The court will now take a final position on the extradition on 27-28 October.

It will set a dangerous precedent if the United States now establishes a practice in which they require publishers to be extradited, who are nationals of other countries through extradition agreements intended to punish criminals. This will in practice restrict the ability of all other states to protect freedom of expression in their own territory. An important distinction between democracies and authoritarian regimes is that in democracies those who expose crimes and abuses of power are protected. In the case of Assange, we can experience that the world’s most powerful country shields itself from criticism by prosecuting an individual with a possible penalty that is beyond reasonable.

The well-documented violations of Assange’s human rights have been proven from several sources in the UN system. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decided in 2015 that Assange had been subjected to arbitrary detention. The UN’s independent human rights expert Alfred D. Zayas has issued an important statement of principle in support of whistleblowers. When Chelsea Manning was pardoned, he stated that her warning was an important contribution to democracy and that her warning served human rights. Following the arrest of Assange, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard has expressed concern about Assange’s situation.

Julian Assange is on the Council of Europe’s list of journalists in prison, and is marked with danger level 1 – danger to life. On 28 January 2021, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on media freedom and the security of journalists in Europe. The resolution states: “[…] urges Member States to take into account that imprisonment and the indictment against Julian Assange set a dangerous precedent for journalists, and supports the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, which stated on 1 November that Assange’s extradition to the United States must be stopped and that he must be released immediately. ” Ingjerd Schou (H) and Lise Christoffersen (Labor Party), chair and deputy chair of the Storting’s Council of Europe delegation, voted in favor of the resolution.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 went precisely to two journalists who have stood up for freedom of the press and highlighted the authorities’ abuse of power. From the justification for this year’s Peace Prize: «Free, independent and fact-based journalism protects against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda. The Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and information contributes to an informed public. These rights are important prerequisites for democracy and protection against war and conflict. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to emphasize the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights.”

The Foreign Ministry’s Strategy for freedom of expression in foreign and development policy 2021 emphasizes that Norway in the «dialogue with other countries’ authorities is [..] a clear defender of freedom of expression and other human rights. In the UN Human Rights Council, Norway is also clear in its criticism of human rights violations in individual countries. In addition, Norway often joins forces with other countries to address and express open concern and criticism in specific situations where journalists, human rights defenders, opposition figures and others are threatened as a result of their work.

Against this background, the Norwegian UNESCO Commission will request the Minister of Foreign Affairs to address the United States with a request that the legal proceedings against Julian Assange be stopped, as well as to apply to the United Kingdom with a request to stop the extradition case and immediate release of Julian Assange.

With best regards

Rebekka Borsch, Head of the Norwegian UNESCO Commission

Categories
Press Clippings

24 rights groups call on Garland to free Assange

“The Yahoo News story only heightens our concerns about the motivations behind his prosecution, and about the dangerous precedent that is being set.”

Two dozen leading civil liberties and press freedom organizations have written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to share “profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange.”

The groups, including the ACLU, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Amnesty International among others, wrote to the Biden DOJ back in February to warn of the dangers of the Assange prosecution, and here they reiterate the First Amendment considerations in the case

“In our view, a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press.”

But the groups write today with a renewed urgency in light of the Yahoo News revelations that the CIA under the Trump administration drew up plans to kidnap and even kill Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 

“The Yahoo News story only heightens our concerns about the motivations behind his prosecution, and about the dangerous precedent that is being set.

In light of these concerns, and in light of the shocking new reporting on the government’s conduct in this case, we respectfully urge you to drop the ongoing appeal of Judge Baraitser’s ruling and to dismiss the indictment of Mr. Assange.”

Garland and the Biden administration have yet to comment in public about the Assange prosecution. In the Trump administration’s final days in office, the DOJ appealed the UK District Court ruling which blocked Assange’s extradition to the U.S. on the grounds that it would put him at grave risk of suicide. The Biden DOJ has allowed that appeal to continue, and the UK’s High Court will hear appeal arguments in London on October 27-28. 

Categories
Press Release

Australian visitors to Assange demand answers

Australian visitors to Assange have expressed concern to their government arising from recent reporting of surveillance or worse at the hands of the CIA and UK authorities, asking what their government knew about the efforts of their allies.

c/o Felicity Ruby
PO Box 5317
Cobargo, NSW 2550

Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister
PO Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600


Senator the Hon Marise Payne,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Payne

RE: Surveillance of Australian citizens visiting Julian Assange in London

We the undersigned are journalists, lawyers, academics, and activists who visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In those various capacities we visited Assange to interview him, to receive instruction from a client, or to enquire as to the welfare of a colleague and friend.

Recent investigative reporting by Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News cites numerous former intelligence and government officials stating that extensive spying was justified and undertaken on associates of Assange.

This included our “patterns of life,” and “what these individuals were saying and who they were saying it to, where they were traveling or going to be at a given date and time, and what platforms these individuals were communicating on.”

In addition, “agency executives requested and received “sketches” of plans for killing Assange and other Europe-based WikiLeaks members who had access to Vault 7 materials…”

We wish to know what surveillance or monitoring we have been subjected to by the intelligence agencies of our allies, the United Kingdom and United States.

Were any of us placed on speculative kill lists?

We also believe we have a right to know whether the Australian government was informed or consented to our communications and movements being tracked.

We would appreciate a written response to the address above.


Sincerely

Phillip Adams
Felicity Ruby
Scott Ludlam
Suelette Dreyfus
Greg Barns SC
Elizabeth O’Shea
Bernard Keane
Mary Kostakidis
Andrew Fowler
Tim Norton
Ciaron O’Reilly
George Gittoes
Hellen Rose
George Newhouse
Alex Kelly
Julian Burnside AO, QC
Jennifer Robinson
Professor John Keane
David Paris
Kathy Lette
Archie Law
Guy Rundle
Violeta Ayala
Dan Fallshaw
Dr Niraj Lal
Mark Davis


30 September 2021

Categories
Events

FreeTheTruth – Bjartmar Alexandersson interviewed by Dr Deepa Driver

Key witness in
Assange case
admits to lies
in indictment

This interview is part of the #FreeTheTruth event series. In this interview, journalist Bjartmar Alexandersson, who revealed how the FBI’s case against Julian Assange is based on a pack of lies. Alexandersson conducted over 9 hours of recorded interviews with Sigurdur Thordarson – the prosecution’s star witness – who admits he lied .

Categories
Press Clippings

Press Freedom Groups React to reports of CIA plots to kidnap, assassinate Assange

This incredible story strikes right at the heart of the prosecution case against Julian Assange. They have repeatedly asserted that this is not a political case. This shows that it absolutely is, and that the legal attack on Assange came very close to becoming an actual physical assault and kidnapping and possibly an attempted murder. It also shows that the British authorities were willing to participate in this grotesque plan and to participate in gun battles on London streets in pursuit of Assange. British journalists, lawmakers, and citizens must now ensure that the government drops the case against Assange and answers questions about their willingness to participate in illegal acts.

Freedom of the Press Foundation: After shocking story about CIA illegal acts, Biden admin must drop Assange charges immediately

“The CIA is a disgrace. The fact that it contemplated and engaged in so many illegal acts against WikiLeaks, its associates, and even other award-winning journalists is an outright scandal that should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. The Biden Administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately. The case already threatens the rights of countless reporters. These new revelations, which involve a shocking disregard of the law, are truly beyond the pale.” — Executive director Trevor Timm

National Union of Journalists: CIA reportedly plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange

“I am calling on the UK home secretary to explain whether the security services had any involvement in, or knowledge of, these plans. Furthermore, it is clear that when the US appeal against the dismissal of its extradition application in respect of Assange is heard in October, it should be dismissed out of hand and its subject released at once.” — NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet

Reporters Without Borders: Alarming reported CIA plot against Julian Assange exposed

“If true, these allegations of a CIA threat to Assange’s life are alarming, and underscore the very serious risk he remains at in detention, which would be exponentially heightened if the US is successful in securing his extradition. The exposed alleged plots that could cause severe harm or loss of life to Assange or his associates are threats to press freedom itself. The Biden administration must act immediately to distance itself from these shocking reports of the Trump administration’s actions, close the case against Assange once and for all, and allow for his release from prison before any further harm is caused.” — RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent

Defending Rights & Dissent: DRAD Condemns Outrageous CIA Attacks on Assange and Press Freedom

“Regardless of the targets, such actions are illegal and immoral. That the CIA seriously considered resurrecting some of its most criminal tactics of the Global War on Terror and Cold War is cause for serious alarm. That the target was an award winning journalist, however, makes these revelations all the more chilling.” — Defending Rights & Dissent’s Policy Director Chip Gibbons

The International Federation of Journalists: US: CIA reportedly plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange

“If these accusations are true, it would cast a long shadow over all independent journalism and they would once again prove that extraditing Assange to the United States would put his life at serious risk. We are calling for a full investigation and for the British authorities to release him immediately.” — IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger

IPI – The Global Network for Independent Journalism

The revelation by @YahooNews that the CIA considered kidnapping or assassinating @wikileaks founder Julian Assange is deeply disturbing. IPI reiterates its call on the US government to abandon its prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act.

ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union

This new report highlights that the prosecution of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to press freedom. We’ll say it again: The government needs to drop its charges against him.

MEAA – Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance

Australian Gov morally and legally obliged to immediately remove @withMEAA member and Australian citizen Julian #Assange from harm’s way If kidnapping and assassination actively considered by CIA @MarisePayne must act now. This MUST STOP #BringJulianHome
— President of MEAA, director of Walkleys Foundation Marcus Strom

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie letter to Scott Morrison MP on the recent news of assassination plot against Assange

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write on behalf of the many Australians who are outraged by credible media reports that Julian Assange was the target of a Central Intelligence Agency abduction and assassination plot in 2017.

These revelations strengthen concerns that Mr Assange is at grave personal risk should he be extradited to the United States of America. Please end this madness now by using your influence with US President Joe Biden and the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to have the US extradition dropped. Mr Assange must be allowed to return to Australia.

Ultimately all Mr Assange did was publicize serious misconduct, including US war crimes. The US extradition attempt is nothing more than a desire by Washington to get even. Rather than be a party to this heinous behavior, Australia must instead stand up for one of its citizens.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Wilkie MP
Independent Member for Clark

28 September 2021

Categories
Press Clippings

Join the march on 23 October to free Assange

Today marks 2 years that Julian Assange has been held on remand in Bellmarsh prison. As he has been in max-security prison for more than two and a half years in total, actor Mark Rylance, MPs Zarah Sultana and Jeremy Corbyn, rapper Lowkey and activist Salma Yaqoob call for him to be freed.


Join the demonstration: Saturday 23 October, 1pm, assemble at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place for a march to the High Court.

On the days of the appeal, 9am on 27th and 28th October, assemble outside the High Court, the Strand.

Julian Assange is being held on remand for 2 years in London’s high security prison in UK solely on the US’s behalf. Julian won in court against the US government in January 2021. He remains imprisoned while the US appeals.

During the Stop the War! conference to mark 20 years of the war on terror, John Rees spoke about campaigning and the importance of freeing Julian Assange.

“It’s up to you, it’s up to us. Take this into your own hands and make sure that the United States government don’t keep this man in jail because he is one of us, one of ours, and we need him out and free.”

Categories
Press Clippings

Assange Case Action Alert

The appeal hearing at the High Court which will decide Julian Assange’s immediate fate has been set for Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th October. This is a watershed moment in the most important press freedom case of the 21st century. If the appeal court upholds the decision to refuse extradition to the US made by Westminster Magistrates Court last January it will make it very difficult for the US to continue to seek extradition.

We encourage you to make every effort to keep this case in in the forefront of the attention of both politicians and the public. 

Please publicise these two important public events through all the networks and social media channels available to you. And please do come along to these events and encourage as many others as possible to come with you.

Demonstration: Saturday 23 October, 1pm, assemble at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place for a march to the High Court.

On the day of the appeal, 9am on 27th and 28th October, assemble outside the High Court, the Strand.

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

40 MEPs ask EU institutions to ensure protection and safety of Julian Assange

40 MEPs have written to the EU institutions asking them not to close their eyes to Assange‘s freedom because it would mean turning away from press freedom in the EU.

“With this letter, we call on EU institutions to take any useful initiatives within their comptences, including under international conventions and specifically the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in order to ensure the protection and safety of Julian Assange under the custody of British authorities and to prevent his extradition.”

Categories
Press Clippings

Press Freedom Groups Renewed their Call Urging Biden Administration to Drop the Charges against Julian Assange

Amnesty International reiterated their call to end the politically motivated charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange ahead of Wednesday’s preliminary appeal hearing.

This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock.

Amnesty’s legal advisor Simon Crowther, explains the importance of journalist’s right to freedom of expression and that no journalist or publisher should face charges simply for publishing information that governments don’t want in the public domain.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Director of International Campaigns, Rebecca Vincent, was observing the preliminary hearing in London’s High Court:

We call again for the Biden administration to drop its appeal and close the case against Julian Assange, which has alarming implications for journalism and press freedom. Assange should be immediately released and certainly not extradited to the United States

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the call asking the Biden administration to drop the politically motivated charges and for Assange’s immediate release.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said:

President Joe Biden must end the years of politically motivated prosecution of Julian Assange by finally dropping the charges against him. The criminalisation of whistleblowers and investigative journalists has no place in a democracy. Condemning Assange would not only endanger his life but also fundamental principles of press freedom.

Freedom of the Press Foundation was also amongst the organizations who monitored the hearing remotely and they continue to oppose the prosecution, renewing their call for the Biden administration to end the prosecution.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement after the High Court’s decision to allow the United States government to expand its appeal. CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said:

A successful prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder, which hinges on an allegation of conspiracy between a publisher and sources, would hamper reporters’ ability to work with sources and whistleblowers and unearth information that the public should know. The Biden administration should stop trying to extradite Assange and drop all charges against him.

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) continues to support Julian Assange and urge for his immediate and unconditional release.

PEN International and English PEN issued a joint statement following the outcome of the preliminary appeal hearing. Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said:

“The charges faced by Julian Assange in the US represent a huge threat to media freedom and investigative journalism everywhere. Our position is clear. Espionage laws should not be used against journalists and publishers for disclosing information of public interest. We once again urge the US authorities to drop the case against Assange and to withdraw their extradition appeal.

Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN, said:

“The UK authorities must uphold their commitment to press freedom and prevent Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. Assange has been held in Belmarsh High Security Prison for over two years. This case has deeply concerning implications for press freedom and as such he should be released as a matter of urgency.

Rune Ottosen, head of the Norwegian PEN was also part of the monitoring groups remotely during the Wednesday’s hearing. He said:

“Loss for freedom of expression. We are talking about a publisher who risks 175 years in prison for documenting facts about war crimes.

The Global Network for Press Freedom (IPI) added their voice and call on Biden administration to drop the charges and end the prosecution.

Amnesty International – The US diplomatic assurances are inherently unreliable. Julian Assange must be released;

USA/UK: US authorities must drop politically motivated charges against Assange

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – UK: High Court begins consideration of Assange extradition appeal

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) – IFJ backs calls to drop charges against Julian Assange

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) – UK court allows expanded US appeal for Assange extradition

PEN International – United Kingdom/USA: Immediately release Julian Assange and drop extradition case

English PEN – United Kingdom/USA: Immediately release Julian Assange and drop extradition case

PEN Norway – Skuffende tap for Assange og ytringsfriheten i retten 

Categories
Hearing Coverage

U.S. allowed to expand scope of Assange appeal

High Court appeal scheduled for October 27-28

Today Britain’s High Court granted the U.S. government’s request to expand the scope of its appeal of Julian Assange’s extradition ruling. Assange’s appeal hearing has been scheduled for October 27-28, 2021.

 In January of this year, the District Court blocked Assange’s extradition to the United States on the grounds that sending the WikiLeaks publisher to the harsh conditions of U.S. imprisonment would put him at grave risk of suicide. In the final days of the Trump administration, prosecutors acting on behalf of the U.S. filed an application to appeal that decision to the UK’s High Court, requesting permission to appeal on five lines of argument. A High Court judge granted the U.S. limited permission, on three of the five grounds for appeal, and today two separate High Court judges heard arguments over whether to allow the remaining two grounds.

These remaining lines of argument concern the testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman, the psychiatrist who evaluated Assange in prison and found that the combination of his Autism spectrum diagnosis and clinical depression put him at severe risk of suicide should his extradition be ordered. The U.S. wants to challenge whether Prof. Kopelman’s testimony should have been admissible and then whether the District Judge erred in her “overall assessment of the evidence going to the risk of suicide.” 

Professor Kopelman provided two reports to the Magistrate, in December 2019 and August 2020, regarding his assessment of Assange’s mental health as it pertained to potential extradition, and he testified in court in September 2020. At issue is the fact that in his first report, Professor Kopelman did not disclose that he was aware that Assange was in a relationship with Stella Moris and that they had two children together, though he referred to Assange’s children in general terms as relevant to his fears of extradition. By the time of his second report, this information was public knowledge, because the relationship was disclosed when Julian’s defense applied for bail in April 2020, and so Professor Kopelman made reference to it subsequently.

The prosecution questioned Prof. Kopelman over this omission on cross-examination in September, and he explained that he had made the difficult decision to exclude this information to respect the Assange family’s privacy. 

In her January ruling, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser recounted this chain of events and found that while Kopelman should have disclosed his knowledge of the relationship, the omission did not render his evidence inadmissible,

“I did not accept that Professor Kopelman failed in his duty to the court when he did not disclose Ms. Morris’s relationship with Mr. Assange….In my judgment Professor Kopelman’s decision to conceal their relationship was misleading and inappropriate in the context of his obligations to the court, but an understandable human response to Ms. Morris’s predicament.”

The U.S. appealed to the High Court on the grounds that Baraitser erred in this determination, contending that the omission should either render Kopelman’s testimony inadmissible or at the least should mean it is given “no, or far less, weight.” Edward Fitzgerald QC argued for the defense that, “it cannot be…that one lapse, no matter how reasonable given the human predicament, renders his whole submission inadmissible. It must be considered in context.”

The High Court’s came to the conclusion “that it is at least arguable” to challenge Kopelman’s testimony over this omission, noting Koeplman’s declaration that his duty to the court overrides any obligation to the defendant. Lord Justice Holroyde said, “To my mind, this goes more to the weight of the evidence than to its admissibility,” but the fact that it is “arguable” was enough to grant the U.S. request to appeal on the remaining two grounds. 

The High Court scheduled Assange’s appeal hearing for October 27-28. Julian followed today’s proceedings by video-link from HMP Belmarsh and will be invited to do the same in October. 

Categories
Hearing Coverage

Preliminary Assange Appeal Hearing Scheduled for August 11

“The US government will try to re-run arguments that have already been settled by two different judges. It is the latest move by the US government to try to game the British legal system.”

The United States government has been given limited permission to appeal the District Court’s decision to block the extradition of Julian Assange from the UK to the U.S. Britain’s High Court ruled that the U.S. government could appeal on some but not all of their requested points. Now a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 11th, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, to argue the scope of that appeal, and whether the U.S. government will be allowed to appeal on its other two proposed lines of argument. Assange is expected to attend in person.

Following that hearing, the High Court will schedule a date to hear full appeal arguments.

Grounds for Appeal

The U.S. government set forth five lines of argument for its appeal of the extradition ruling, and two of them were denied. It will be allowed to argue that the judge misapplied section 91 of the 2003 Extradition Act, which says someone can’t be extradited if the “physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” and that the judge should have notified the prosecution that she found extradition would be unjust or oppressive so that it could have provided “assurances to the Court” ahead of time. Finally, the High Court will allow the U.S. to put forth said assurances in the appeal hearing.

The High Court denied the U.S. government’s request to appeal on the grounds that the testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman should have been ruled inadmissible. Professor Kopelman is a psychiatrist who evaluated Assange and determined that he would be at risk of suicide if his extradition were ordered. The court also denied the U.S. government’s request to argue that the judge erred in her overall assessment of evidence that Assange would be at risk of suicide.

On August 11th, the High Court will hold a preliminary hearing for the parties to argue these last two grounds.

Assange’s fiancé Stella Moris explained what the U.S. government is attempting to do with this move:

Any losing party, the US in this case, is allowed to attempt to have different judges review the grounds that they have lost on. But the US government’s attack on Dr. Kopelman is particularly vexatious. The US government will try to re-run arguments that have already been settled by two different judges. It is the latest move by the US government to try to game the British legal system. The US government’s handling of the case exposes the underlying nature of the prosecution against Julian: subverting the rules so that Julian’s ability to defend himself is obstructed and undermined while he remains in prison for years and years, unconvicted, and held on spurious charges. The “process” is the punishment.

However much the prosecution plays to the gallery on August 11th in its efforts to attack the reputation of one of the most well-respected neuropsychiatrists in Britain, the real substance of the appeal will take place when the main appeal hearing will be heard in full later this year. But the scope of that hearing, three or five grounds, will be determined on the 11th of August.

U.S. “Assurances”

The U.S. government purports to give “assurances” that if Assange is extradited to the United States, he won’t be placed in the highest-security prison, Supermax ADX Florence, and he won’t be subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). But these assurances include caveats that render them meaningless: according to its own filing, the United States can still use these measures if it decides that Assange “do[es] something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX.”

Amnesty International says, “Such latitude to alter the terms of the core assurances after Assange’s transfer to the US renders them irrelevant from the start since he would remain at risk of ill-treatment in US detention at the point of transfer and afterward.”

Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s Expert on Counter-Terrorism, Criminal Justice, and Human Rights, says, “Those are not assurances at all. It is not that difficult to look at those assurances and say: these are inherently unreliable, it promises to do something and then reserves the right to break the promise.”

Responding to the news of so-called “assurances,” Moris said, “What the US is proposing is a formula to keep Julian in prison effectively for the rest of his life.”

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Politicians, journalists and artists write to Chancellor Merkel calling for freedom of Assange

Around 120 politicians, journalists and artists appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday in a letter asking her to raise the ongoing prosecution of Julian Assange with U.S. President Joe Biden in her upcoming trip to Washington.

They ask the Chancellor for her assistance in ensuring that “Assange does not have to remain in detention” and to make clear in their discussions “how important the dropping of the charges against the WikiLeaks founder is in terms of defending press freedom – in order for him to return to good health in liberty in the company of his family.”

The letter also says: “Like many well-known human-rights organisations and journalists’ organisations, we view the persecution of Julian Assange as an attack on press freedom and freedom of speech, which must be decisively rejected. Anybody committed to human rights and democracy must work to achieve Assange’s freedom.”

The letter was initiated by the investigative journalist and writer Günter Wallraff and was co-signed by Sigmar Gabriel (former Federal Foreign Minister), Sevim Dagdelen (Member of the Bundestag), Wolfgang Kubicki (Vice-President of the Bundestag), Alice Schwarzer (editor of Emma magazine), Günter Verheugen (former Minister of State), Friedrich Küppersbusch (television producer) and more.

https://assange-helfen.de/

Another letter was sent by members of Icelandic Parliament last week to President Biden asking to drop the charges against Julian Assange.
“Recent revelations, where a key witness in the case admits to fabricating accusations against Mr Assange, should mark the end of this year-long assault on an award-winning journalist,” the letter says.

95 Greek parliamentarians joined the appeal to Biden calling to “drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.” The letter follows: “Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.”

Around 250 doctors from across the globe urge President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to “drop the appeal and all charges in this case that constitutes an egregious violation of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom.” The doctors implore the President “to end the misguided case you have inherited that violates the bedrock principles of our democracy.”

Politicians from Australia, Germany, Italy to Great Britain call on US President Joe Biden to drop the prosecution against Julian Assange.

Categories
Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Germany – Letter of 120 politicians, artists and journalists, calling for the freedom of Julian Assange

12 July 2021

Dear Madam Chancellor,

We are extremely concerned about the health and life of the journalist Julian Assange, and are writing to you in advance of your planned visit to US President Joe Biden in Washington this month.

For eleven years now, Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing platform Wikileaks, has been deprived of his liberty. Since April 2019, he has been in detention at Belmarsh high-security prison in London, where he must await the decision on whether he is to be extradited from the United Kingdom to the USA. There, he faces the threat of a 175-year prison sentence for his work as a journalist, including his exposure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like many well-known human-rights organisations and journalists’ organisations, we view the persecution of Julian Assange as an attack on press freedom and freedom of speech, which must be decisively rejected. Anybody committed to human rights and democracy must work to achieve Julian Assange’s freedom.

Madam Chancellor, we request your assistance in ensuring that Julian Assange does not have to remain in detention, where his health is being systematically destroyed through continued isolation. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Professor Nils Melzer, has been warning for some time that Julian Assange shows signs of exposure to psychological torture and that he must be immediately released. His fiancée, Stella Morris, reported after her last visit to Belmarsh that his imprisonment was driving him into a “deep depression and despair”, after she and their two young children had previously been refused any direct contact for eight months.

Julian Assange’s poor state of health was the main argument made in the ruling by a British judge on 4 January 2021, disallowing his extradition to serve a lengthy prison sentence of unknown duration in the US. Against this background, the fact that the journalist is still imprisoned in Belmarsh under extremely harsh conditions is even more incomprehensible. Julian Assange is still being deprived of his freedom in the UK, for the sole reason that the US government has appealed against the ruling for political reasons, and is still insisting on Assange’s extradition, which would be life-threatening for him.

The treatment of Julian Assange contradicts principles of the rule of law; the harsh conditions of his detention constitute a humanitarian scandal. In view of his critical state of health, urgent action must be taken.

It is now up to Joe Biden to end the judicial process against Julian Assange begun by his predecessor in office and drop the charges against him. A new turn of events may be brought about by the most recent revelations of the key US prosecution witness, Icelander Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, who admitted in an in-depth interview with the international press having lied in his accusations incriminating Julian Assange and that he was paid for doing so. We ask you to take into account these exonerating statements.

Madam Chancellor, we urgently appeal to you to build bridges in the case of Julian Assange. Please make clear in your discussions with US President Joe Biden in Washington how important the dropping of the charges against the Wikileaks founder is in terms of defending press freedom – in order for him to return to good health in liberty in the company of his family.

We know what great hopes are resting on you – on the part of Julian Assange’s family, as well as numerous international supporters of the journalist. We ask you to find a humanitarian solution for Julian Assange which is also face-saving for the US President.

This would be a striking and enduring humanitarian gesture at the end of your time in office and would after all offer Joe Biden and opportunity to now break with the era of Donald Trump in defending press freedom and freedom of expression.

We hope for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Günter Wallraff

Further signatories:

Jakob Augstein (journalist, publisher), Berivan Aymaz (Member of the North-Rhine Westphalian Landtag), Dietmar Bartsch (Member of the Bundestag, chairman of the Left Party parliamentary group), Gerhart Baum (former Federal Minister of the Interior), Canan Bayram (Member of the Bundestag), Markus Beckedahl (journalist), Rolf Becker (actor), Konrad Beikircher (satirist), Sibylle Berg (author), Roswitha and Erich Bethe (Bethe Foundation), Paul Böhm (architect), Nora Bossong (author), Micha Brumlik (writer), Anke Brunn (former State Minister of Science for North-Rhine Westphalia), Frank Castorf (theatre director), Sevim Dagdelen (Member of the Bundestag), Herta Däubler-Gmelin (former Federal Minister of Justice), Fabio de Masi (Member of the Bundestag), Hans Demmel (media manager), Bijan Djir-Sarai (Member of the Bundestag), Petra Erler (former Head of Cabinet at the EU Commission), Lisa Fitz (satirist), Sigmar Gabriel (former Federal Foreign Minister), Kerstin Gleba (publisher), John Goetz (journalist), Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Member of the Bundestag, chairwoman of the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group), Anselm Grün (Benedictine monk, author), Serap Güler (State Secretary for Integration), Gregor Gysi (Member of the Bundestag), Hektor Haarkötter (media scientist), Robert Habeck (chairman of Alliance 90/The Greens), Lutz Hachmeister (film producer), Heike Hänsel (Member of the Bundestag), Frank Heinrich (Member of the Bundestag), Monique Hofmann (General Secretary of the German Journalists’ Union), Elfriede Jelinek (author, Nobel Laureate in Literature), Hans Jessen (journalist), Tilo Jung (journalist, Jung & Naiv), Barbara Junge (journalist, taz newspaper editor-in-chief), Markus J. Karsten (publisher), Navid Kermani (author), Markus Kompa (lawyer), Reiner Kröhnert (satirist), Gabriele Krone-Schmalz (writer), Sebastian Krumbiegel (musician), Wolfgang Kubicki (Member of the Bundestag, Vice-President of the Bundestag), Friedrich Küppersbusch (television producer), Oskar Lafontaine (former Federal Minister of Finance), Karl Lauterbach (Member of the Bundestag), Klaus Lederer (Deputy Governing Mayor and State Senator for Culture and Europe for Berlin), Hans Leyendecker (journalist), Volker Lösch (theatre director), Albrecht von Lucke (writer), Markus Meckel (theologian), Jeanine Meerapfel (President of the Akademie der Künste), Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), Eva Menasse (author), Franz Meurer (Catholic priest), Robert Misik (author), Amira Mohamed Ali (Member of the Bundestag, chairwoman of the Left Party parliamentary group), Hans Mörtter (Protestant pastor), Andy Müller-Maguhn (IT expert), Albrecht Müller (writer), Linus Neumann (Chaos Computer Club spokesperson), Wolfgang Niedecken (musician), Bahman Nirumand (author), Max-Jacob Ost (journalist, podcaster), Cem Özdemir (Member of the Bundestag), Osman Okkan (filmmaker), Pagonis Pagonikas (filmmaker), Claus Peymann (theatre director), Fritz Pleitgen (journalist, former WDR Director-General), Dagmar Ploetz (translator), Emitis Pohl (entrepreneur), Sabine Poschmann (Member of the Bundestag), Christine Prayon (actor, satirist), Anja Reschke (journalist, editor and host of Panorama), Georg Restle (journalist, ARD Monitor), Rezo (Youtuber), Moritz Rinke (author), Claudia Roth (Member of the Bundestag, Vice-President of the Bundestag), Eugen Ruge (author), Susana Santina (journalist), Joachim Sartorius (former Director of the Berliner Festspiele), Frank Schätzing (author), Volker Schlöndorff (film director), Gerhard Schmidt (President of the German Televison Academy), Renate Schmidt (former Federal Minister of Health), Wolfgang M. Schmitt (film critic), Wolfgang Schorlau (author), Matthias Schreiber (pastor), Ingo Schulze (author), Frank Schwabe (Member of the Bundestag), Gesine Schwan (political scientist), Alice Schwarzer (writer, editor of “Emma” magazine), Winfried Seibert (lawyer), Martin Sonneborn (Member of the European Parliament), Michael Sontheimer (journalist), Klaus Staeck (poster artist), Bernd Stegemann (dramaturge), Uli Stoll (author), Hans-Christian Ströbele (former Member of the Bundestag), Margit Stumpp (Member of the Bundestag), Wolfgang Thierse (former President of the Bundestag), Valentin Thurn (filmmaker), Uwe Timm (author), Ilija Trojanow (author), Georg Stefan Troller (author), Max Uthoff (satirist), Günter Verheugen (former Minister of State, former Vice-President of the European Commission), Antje Vollmer (former Vice-President of the Bundestag), Sahra Wagenknecht (Member of the Bundestag), Jörg Wagner (media journalist), Norbert Walter-Borjans (chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany), Harald Welzer (sociologist), Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (former Federal Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation), Ulrike Winkelmann (journalist, taz newspaper editor-in-chief), Ranga Yogeshwar (physicist, scientific journalist)

German version:  https://assange-helfen.de/ 

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Parliamentary Actions Press Release Statements

Icelandic Lawmakers call on the Biden Administration to Drop the Charges Against Julian Assange

U.S. Embassy in Iceland
Engjateigur 7
105 Reykjavik
Iceland

Statement from members of the Icelandic Parliament regarding the Prosecution of Julian Assange.

We, undersigned, members of Parliament in Iceland, from across the political spectrum, urge the U.S. Government to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and withdraw the extradition request against him in the UK.

The “espionage” charges against Mr Assange are an attempt to criminalize investigative journalism and set a dangerous precedent for press freedom worldwide. As confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, Mr Assange has been “dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame” and deprived fundamental human rights, a price he has paid for exposing war crimes and torture committed by US service personnel during the Iraq War.

Recent revelations, where a key witness in the case admits to fabricating accusations against Mr Assange, should mark the end of this year-long assault on an award-winning journalist. We urge leaders, governments and parliamentarians around the world to speak up and side with press freedom, the rule of law and the public’s right to know.

Reykjavik, July 9th 2021

Helga Vala Helgadóttir, Social Democratic Alliance
Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, Social Democratic Alliance
Ari Trausti Guðmundsson, Left Green Movement
Halldóra Mogensen, Pirate Party
Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, Pirate Party
Björn Leví Gunnarsson, Pirate Party
Andrés Ingi Jónsson, Pirate Party
Hanna Katrín Friðriksson, Liberal Reform Party
Jón Steindór Valdimarsson, Liberal Reform Party
Inga Sæland, People’s Party

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Press Clippings

Julian Assange’s fiancée reacts to reports that US authorities have given assurances regarding conditions should the publisher be extradited

After yesterday’s news that a UK court has given US prosecutors limited permission to appeal January’s ruling that Julian Assange should not be extradited, Julian Assange’s fiancee took to twitter to debunk the claims.

Julian Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris said:

“Reports about US undertakings are grossly misleading. On any given day 80,000 prisoners in US prisons are held in solitary confinement. Only a handful are in ADX/under special administrative measures. ADX is just one of dozens of self-described supermax prisons in the United States. The US government also says it may change its mind if the head of the CIA advises it to do so once Julian Assange is held in US custody.

“With regard to the supposed concession of allowing Julian to serve jail time in Australia, it was always his right to request a prisoner transfer to Australia to finish serving his sentence because he is an Australian. It is no concession at all. There are existing agreements between the US and Australian authorities. What is crucial to understand is that prisoner transfers are eligible only after all appeals have been exhausted. For the case to reach the US Supreme Court could easily take a decade, even two.

“What the US is proposing is a formula to keep Julian in prison effectively for the rest of his life. The only assurance that would be acceptable would be for the Biden Administration to drop this shameful case altogether, once and for all. He should not be in prison for a single day, not in the UK, not in the United States, not in Australia–because journalism is not a crime.

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Press Clippings

High Court gives US government limited permission to appeal January decision that Assange should not be extradited

7 July 2021

The UK High Court has notified the parties involved in Julian Assange’s extradition case that the United States government’s appeal will be listed for a hearing.

The decision by the High Court simply gives permission for the US government to attempt to challenge the ruling, but it does not reflect the merits of the US arguments.

Permission has been granted on a limited basis, allowing only narrow, technical grounds to form the basis of the appeal. Crucially, the High Court did not allow the United States to appeal any of the factual findings concerning Assange’s condition. No date has been set for the hearing.

Assange’s extradition was blocked in January on the grounds that it would be “oppressive”, citing the circumstances of the extradition, as well as his clinical history and Autism Spectrum disorder diagnosis, which, combined, would drive him to suicide. The High Court affirmed Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s conclusions concerning his clinical condition, as well as the independent expert evidence on which she relied.

Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison if extradited.

The appeal was lodged by the Trump Administration, just two days before President Biden took office, but revelations reported last weekend dealt a new blow to the credibility of the Department of Justice case.

Icelandic investigative journalists revealed that the DoJ’s lead witness, an Icelandic man convicted of sex crimes against minors, fraud and embezzlement, who is also a diagnosed sociopath, now admits that he fabricated allegations against Assange in exchange for immunity from US prosecutors (https://stundin.is/grein/13627/). Those discredited allegations form the basis of the Second Superseding indictment against Assange and were even cited in the extradition judgment delivered on January 4th.

Julian Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, said:

“Six months ago, Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked the extradition of my partner, Julian Assange, because consigning him to the US prison system would have amounted to signing his death warrant. That should have been the end of it.

“The new revelations concerning the DoJ’s lead witness, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, confirm what we all knew: that the case against Julian has been built on lies. The case is rotten to the core, and nothing that the US government can say about his future treatment is worth the paper it is written on.  This is a country whose agents plotted to kill Julian on British soil; who harried his solicitors and stole legal documents; who even targeted our six-month-old baby.

This entirely baseless, abusive, anti-First Amendment case was driven by the previous administration for nefarious reasons. The administration instrumentalised the law to pursue the political objective of disappearing Julian as a deterrent to journalists in the United States and elsewhere.

“I am appealing directly to the Biden government to do the right thing, even at this late stage. This case should not be dragged out for a moment longer. End this prosecution, protect free speech and let Julian come home to his family.

“The current administration admits that the Trump Department of Justice lacked independence. It seems inconceivable that President Biden would want to continue with this case – because Julian’s freedom is coupled to all our freedoms and no democratic society can ever make journalism a crime.

“If the Biden Administration does not end this now, the case will limp through the courts while Julian remains in prison indefinitely: unconvicted, suffering and isolated, while our young children are denied their father. Julian spent his 50th birthday on the 3rd of July behind bars in Belmarsh prison, where he has been on remand since April 2019. He is not a criminal. He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job.

“This case shows nothing but contempt for the First Amendment. Repressive regimes welcome the Biden administration’s prosecution of Julian because it signals that imprisoning the press and silencing political dissent is practised and endorsed by the United States. Bringing this shameful prosecution demeans the values that the United States says it stands for. It reduces trust in both the US and the UK legal systems.

“Julian’s prosecution is vigorously opposed by The New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as the National Union of Journalists, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and virtually every press freedom and human rights organisation in the West, together with parliamentarians from around the world”.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Australia have renewed their calls for the Biden Administration to abandon the prosecution as international political pressure grows. A group of German MPs have written to Chancellor Angela Merkel, asking her to raise the issue with President Biden during her forthcoming trip to Washington.

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Press Clippings

Doctors for Assange Letter to the US Government urging to drop all charges against Julian Assange

To: President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland
From: Doctors for Assange: https://doctorsassange.org

Date: July 7, 2021

Doctors for Assange[i] joins politicians, human rights, press freedom, and rule of law advocates across the globe in urging you to end the unwarranted US legal persecution and torture of Julian Assange, by dropping all charges against him now. The Trump administration’s efforts to entrap a publisher in an extradition scheme, for the purpose of subjecting an Australian citizen to the US Espionage Act, have violated judicial due process, international law, press freedom and human rights. We implore you to end the misguided case you have inherited that violates the bedrock principles of our democracy.

Doctors for Assange is alarmed by recent reports that Julian Assange continues to suffer severe psychological abuse in HMP Belmarsh Prison. Having won his case against extradition to the United States on unprecedented Espionage Act charges against him as a publisher, the UK judge nevertheless has been holding Mr. Assange in unjustified indefinite detention pending your appeal of the decision. It has been five months since that verdict, and the UK High Court has only issued its ruling today on whether it will permit your appeal to proceed.

In its ruling today, the High Court has accepted all previous evidence, and the judge’s previous finding, regarding Mr. Assange’s health status. The High Court has also prevented you from appealing any facts relating to Mr. Assange’s clinical condition. As his extradition was denied in January on the grounds that it would be oppressive in light of his medical and psychological history and diagnoses, your avenues for appeal appear limited.  

Meanwhile, Mr. Assange continues to suffer serious, life threatening effects of the psychological torture he has been subjected to for more than a decade. His partner, Stella Moris, reports Mr. Assange is having “severe episodes” in prison, and that he is suffering “mental turmoil.” These symptoms, like the psychological trauma and suicidal ideation evidenced during Mr. Assange’s extradition hearing last Fall, are expected consequences of psychological torture, as reported by the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer. 

Although the judge decided against extradition based on oppressive conditions in US prisons, which would place Mr. Assange at high risk of suicide, the US appeal of that decision keeps him in conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the UK. While detained pending progression of the US appeal, Mr. Assange remains in maximum security conditions, held in the UK’s most punitive and repressive prison despite being a non-violent prisoner who has not been convicted of any crime. His risk of suicide or death from prolonged psychological torture and medical neglect remains high.[ii] Moreover, Mr. Assange remains at high risk of both contracting and suffering the worst outcomes of COVID-19. 

In addition, Mr. Assange’s continued pursuit by the Biden Administration calls into question the legitimacy of the United States’ stated commitment to press freedom, civil liberties and human rights. The world’s leading authorities in such matters, including Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, to name a few, are unequivocally denouncing the US Government’s pursuit of Julian Assange. Cross-party groups of parliamentarians from the UK, Australia, Germany and Italy, have weighed in as well, warning  that the extraterritorial reach and unprecedented criminalization of publishing activity threatens journalists and freedom of speech worldwide.

For these reasons, we urge you to drop the appeal and all charges in this case that constitutes an egregious violation of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom. Failing to do so would establish a precedent with permanent, devastating effects on the foundations of our democracy, and irrevocably damage the United States’ reputation in the international community’s eyes. We urge you to put an end to this case before its dire consequences become your personal responsibility.

Respectfully,

Dr. Marco Chiesa, MD, FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist and Visiting Professor, University College London (United Kingdom)

Dr. C Stephen Frost, BSc, MBChB, Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (Stockholm, Sweden), United Kingdom and Sweden

Dr. Bob Gill, MBChB, MRCGP, General Medical Practitioner, United Kingdom

Prof William Hogan, MD, Specialist in Internal Medicine; Professor of Biomedical Informatics, United States

Dr. Lissa Johnson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Australia

Prof. Tony Nelson, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dr. Anne Noonan, Psychiatrist, SONT, Specialist Outreach Northern Territory, Australia

Prof. Thomas G Schulze, MD, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY; University Hospital, LMU Munich; Member, Executive Committee of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA); Past President of the American Psychopathological Association (APPA) and the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG), Germany and United States

Dr. Jill Stein, MD, Internist, Lexington, Massachusetts; Former instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, United States

Dr. Derek Summerfield, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College, University of London; Former Chief Psychiatrist at the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture, United Kingdom

Dr. Sue Wareham OAM (Order of Australia), MBBS, General Medical Practitioner (retired); Co-founder of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (2017 Nobel Peace Prize), Australia

For and on behalf of 

Doctors for Assange signatories.

Go to the official website.

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Press Clippings

Messages for Julian Assange’s 50th Birthday

https://twitter.com/RobVincentMusic/status/1411287866479611907?s=20
Categories
Parliamentary Actions Press Release

Politicians globally call on US President Joe Biden to drop the prosecution against Julian Assange

Politicians around the world are sending a message to US President Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange ahead of his 50th birthday. Julian Assange, an unconvicted, remand prisoner who hasn’t been charged in Britain is spending 3rd birthday inside high-security Belmarsh prison despite winning his extradition case last January.

A cross party group of UK parliamentarians took the opportunity of Biden’s visit during G7 summit in Cornwall and appealed to President in an open letter saying: “The effect of your predecessor’s decision to take a criminal case against a member of the press working in our country is to restrict the scope of permissible press activities here, and set a precedent that others will no doubt exploit. We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”

Last Wednesday, a coalition of Australian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum urged the US Government to revoke its appeal of the UK judgement against extradition. In the video they pronounce: “We are elected to defend our citizens’ rights. Voters expect us to hold accountable those who commit wrongdoing, not to punish those who expose it, such as Julian Assange. Citizens expect us to protect journalists and publishers, not to imprison them for their work.”

Members of Italian Parliament have also voiced their concern and presented a motion to recognize Assange the status of political refugee.

Members of German Bundestag joined the call yesterday demanding the US President to end the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange. “We call upon the new US administration under President Joe Biden to end the extradition proceedings started by the previous administration led by Donald Trump one and for all and to stop the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder.”


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Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Open Letter to Joe Biden by 95 Greek MPs: “Drop all charges against Julian Assange!”

President Joe Biden
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
USA

2nd July 2021

Dear Mr President,

We are addressing you as Members of Greece’s Parliament to congratulate you for your recent comments in defence of media freedom.

As President Obama’s Vice President,you played an important role in the decision not to prosecute Julian Assange over publications relating to the Afghan and Iraq wars and conditions in Guantanamo Bay. You, like us, must have been disappointed when your predecessor launched a prosecution carrying a 175-year sentence against a globally renowned publisher and free press campaigner for his 2010 award-winning publishing work, which was carried out in the United Kingdom.

Civil liberties groups and top newsrooms alike view the government’s prosecution against this publisher with alarm. The Washington Post’s Executive Editor writes that the indictment is “criminalizing common practices in journalism that have long served the public interest”. The New York Times Editorial Board considers it to be “aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment”, and for Amnesty International, “the charges against him should never have been brought in the first place” because it is “putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial”.

Earlier this year Westminster Magistrates Court, in the United Kingdom,refused the US application to extradite Julian Assange to the US. The Guardian Editorial Board noted that your incoming administration “can, and should, let Mr. Assange walk free”. We had hoped that this might be the occasion to draw a line under this prosecution. Unfortunately, the US Department of Justice is still pursuing this case, leaving Julian Assange facing a third year of incarceration in Belmarsh High-Security prison.

Mr. Assange, an Australian member of the press who had been invited to this country by The Guardian in 2010 to work on these publications in concert with the UK’s free press traditions, is the subject of a US criminal case. The effect of your predecessor’s decision to take a criminal case against a member of the press working in our country is to restrict the scope of permissible press activities anywhere around the world, and set a precedent that others will no doubt exploit.

The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information that a government finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.

We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.

Sincerely

The Members of the Parliamentary Groups of MeRA25 and SYRIZA in Greece’s Parliament.

Read in the media.

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Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Members of the cross-party working group in Germany letter to President Joe Biden

Berlin, 1 July2021

“President Biden, end the persecution of the journalist Julian Assange”

To mark the 50th birthday of Julian Assange on 3 July 2021, and in light of the ongoing persecution of the detained journalist and Wikileaks founder by the administration of US President Joe Biden, the members of the cross-party working group “Free Julian Assange” (Freiheit für Julian Assange) Sevim Dagdelen (The Left Party), Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP), Frank Heinrich (CDU), Frank Schwabe (SPD) and Margit Stumpp (Alliance90/The Greens) issue the following statement:

“The latest revelations of fictitious hacking accusations from a key witness cooperating with the FBI show once again that the allegations against the journalist Julian Assange are construed and unfounded. We call upon the new US administration under President Joe Biden to end the extradition proceedings started by the previous administration led by Donald Trump once and for all and to stop the persecution of the Wikileaks founder. Julian Assange has been kept for over two years under conditions akin to torture at Belmarsh high security prison in London, where he is forced to spend his 50th birthday in solitary confinement despite the critical condition of his health. We call upon German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to urgently advocate, during her forthcoming visit to Washington to meet with US President Biden,an end to the persecution of Julian Assange and to insist that freedom of speech and of the press are upheld.”

Sevim Dagdelen (The Left Party) stated the following: “For eleven years, Julian Assange has been robbed of his freedom at the instigation of the US leadership, because he made US war crimes public. The German Federal Government must at last make the case for the release of this journalist and the end to this political persecution. Especially following the revelation that key aspects of the accusations on which the US indictment is based have been found to be patently fictitious.”

Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP) stated the following: “The refusal by the British judiciary to release Julian Assange on bail is, in light of the dire conditions of his detention, a rule-of-law and humanitarian scandal. If only for the protection of his life and his fragile health, Julian Assange must be released immediately from Belmarsh high security prison.”

Frank Heinrich (CDU) stated the following: “President Biden’s administration should use the opportunity to leave the Trump era well and truly behind them in this respect, too, and to withdraw the extradition request against Julian Assange in the spirit of protecting freedom of opinion and of the press.”

Frank Schwabe (SPD) stated the following: “The treatment of Julian Assange is in no way compatible with rule-of-law principles. In light of his very poor health, this circus needs to come to an end immediately.”

Margit Stumpp (Alliance90/The Greens) stated the following: “If the United States and the Western community of nations credibly wish to stand up for the protection of freedom of the press and the rule of law, they need to stop using Julian Assange as an example of how to persecute disagreeable journalists. The criminalisation of investigative journalism, which in the case of Wikileaks brought terrible war crimes, torture and corruption scandals to light, not only weakens democracy and the rule of law, but also undermines people’s trust in public institutions.”

Sevim Dağdelen, Member of the German Bundestag
Bijan Djir-Sarai, Member of the German Bundestag
Frank Heinrich, Member of the German Bundestag
Frank Schwabe, Member of the German Bundestag
Margit Stumpp, Member of the German Bundestag

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Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Australian Politicians Call on President Biden to Drop the Charges Against Julian Assange

30 June 2021

MPs and Senators urge the US Government to revoke its appeal of the UK judgement against extradition

In a video message to the US President Joe Biden, 11 Australian politicians from across the political spectrum have appealed to the US Government to drop its Espionage Act charges against Australian citizen, Julian Assange.

The MPs and Senators have urged President Biden to take the “opportunity for urgent reconsideration”, following a UK court’s decision to deny the US extradition request, rendered earlier this year.

Julian Assange is currently held in HMP Belmarsh, a high security London prison, pending a High Court ruling on whether the US may appeal against the UK refusal to extradite. He is detained for publishing activity that won him Australia’s highest journalistic honour, the Walkley Award for most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.

The Australian politicians warn that Assange’s prosecution threatens journalists worldwide.

Susan Templeman, MP, Australian Labor Party (ALP) said: “Citizens expect us to protect journalists and publishers, not to imprison them for their work”.

Senator Carol Brown ALP added: “The world’s leading human rights and press freedom groups are unequivocally denouncing the charges against [Julian Assange]. And we join them.”

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens, told Biden: “Australian citizens want Julian Assange to be free”

And Peter Khalil MP, ALP, noted: “Indeed, one of the largest petitions in Australia’s history, with over 600,000 signatures, has been tabled in the Australian Parliament, calling on the US to free Assange.”

Julian Hill MP, ALP, who has spoken in parliament about Assange, appeals to the UK: “We are imploring the British government to release him from prison, and send him home.”

Speakers (in order of appearance)

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent
Julian Hill MP, Australian Labor Party (ALP)
Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens
Dr Helen Haines MP, Independent
Susan Templeman MP, ALP
Maria Vamvakinou MP, ALP
Josh Wilson MP, ALP
Senator Carol Brown, ALP
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens
Peter Khalil MP, ALP
George Christensen MP, Liberal National Party

Transcription:

We are Australian parliamentarians and we’re calling on the government of the United States to drop the unprecedented Espionage Act charges against Julian Assange. And we are imploring the British government to release him from prison, and send him home.

Like politicians in the US and the UK, we are elected to defend our citizens’ rights. Voters expect us to hold accountable those who commit wrongdoing, not to punish those who expose it, such as Julian Assange. Citizens expect us to protect journalists and publishers, not to imprison them for their work.

Julian Assange is right now being arbitrarily detained in the UK for publishing activity. His treatment violates the Convention against Torture and his persecution threatens journalists worldwide. The world’s leading human rights and press freedom groups are unequivocally denouncing the charges against him. And we join them.

Australian citizens want Julian Assange to be free. Indeed one of the largest petitions in Australia’s history, with over half a million signatures has been tabled in the Australian Parliament, calling on the US to free Assange.

The ruling by UK District Judge (Magistrates Court) Vanessa Baraitser on January 4 of this year to deny extradition provides the opportunity for urgent reconsideration. President Biden, we implore you, please drop the US Government’s appeal in light of the judgement rendered in the UK.


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Parliamentary Actions Press Release

Richard Burgon MP will hand in a letter at Belmarsh prison about the ongoing refusal to allow a meeting with Assange

28 June 2021

In an unprecedented move MP Richard Burgon will be handing in a cross-party letter to UK’s high-security Belmarsh prison on Tuesday 29 June to raise the prison and Justice Secretary’s ongoing refusal to allow a meeting with Julian Assange.

A large cross party group of MPs have repeatedly raised their request to be briefed by Assange with the prison governor and the Justice Secretary without success. Now they are taking the demand to the gates of the prison.

Richard Burgon MP, who coordinated the letter from 20 parliamentarians from 4 parties said:

“Julian Assange’s case has huge implications for press freedoms in the UK and for the US-UK Extradition Treaty

“It’s in the public interest that British Parliamentarians are able to discuss these issues with Julian Assange.

“That the authorities have repeatedly stopped an online meeting going ahead speaks volumes.

“The Justice Secretary and Prison Governor must now put a stop to their intransigence and allow it to go ahead without further delay”

They will meet Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, as she emerges from a social visit at 11:30am and will hand in a letter to the prison governor highlighting that COVID restrictions are eased now inside the prison.


The letter says:

Dear Governor,

We are deeply concerned by the ongoing refusal of you and the Justice Secretary to allow an online video meeting between Julian Assange and a cross-party group of British parliamentarians. 

As you know Julian Assange is currently on remand in HMP Belmarsh, not for the violation of any UK law, but over extradition to the USA for his journalistic work carried out in the UK at the invitation of The Guardian and published in numerous leading newspapers worldwide. 

In the US, Julian Assange faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years, meaning he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

This case has important implications for press and publishing freedoms in the UK and for the US-UK Extradition Treaty including its ban on extradition for political offences. 

We, therefore, believe it is vital that parliamentarians be allowed to discuss these important issues with interested parties. We are not making this request as private citizens but as British Parliamentarians deeply concerned by the potential consequences of this high-profile case. 

This could be permitted under the rules for Official Visits which state that there can be visits from “public officials whom the Governor permits to visit”. 

A cross-party group of parliamentarians first requested an online meeting in December 2020. It is simply unacceptable that six months on this simple request continues to be met with such intransigence. 

You have the authority to grant such a meeting and we call on you to facilitate an online meeting without further delay. 

Yours sincerely,


Richard Burgon MP 
Diane Abbott MP 
Baroness Christine Blower   
Ian Byrne MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP 
Lord Bryn Davies   
Neale Hanvey MP 
Lord John Hendy  
Ian Lavery MP 
Caroline Lucas MP 
Kenny MacAskill MP 
John McDonnell MP 
Ian Mearns MP 
Grahame Morris MP 
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP 
Tommy Sheppard MP 
Lord Prem Sikka   
Zarah Sultana MP 
Claudia Webbe MP 
Mick Whitley MP

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Press Clippings

Assange Week – Julian turns 50

Six months have passed since an English court refused Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States – ruling that sending him to America would be so oppressive it would drive him to suicide. The US is now appealing that decision and the UK’s High Court is yet to announce whether it will grant permission for the appeal. This means Julian is spending 3rd birthday inside high-security Belmarsh prison. 

Show support by joining the global protest on 3rd July and write a birthday message to Julian telling him what actions you have taken to raise awareness of this case.

Press freedom groups and members of the UK Parliament will also be holding events during the Assange week, showing support and solidarity on the occasion of Julian’s 50th birthday.

Details subject to confirmations. We’ll continue to update this page with event details, how to get involved, video content, & more.

Sunday 26 June
Freedom for Julian Assange, San Francisco Bay Area Presents: Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker will be joining the Shiptons live with Daniel Ellsberg , Noam Chomsky, Mamia Abu-Jamal and more.

Sunday 27 June
Julian Assange’s father John and brother Gabriel Shipton – Wrap up and overview of their US tour #HomeRun4Julian.

Monday 28 June
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will be mobilising supporters around the world to send birthday messages to Julian Assange via Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayAssange. Tweets using the hashtag through his 50th birthday on 3rd July will be compiled and printed to be delivered to him in Belmarsh prison. Check @RSF_inter for key birthday messages that will be shared throughout #AssangeWeek.

“Julian Assange’s continued arbitrary detention as he begins another decade is a blight on the US and UK’s press freedom records. Let this be the last birthday he spends in Belmarsh or any prison. Join us in showing that it’s time to right this legal and moral wrong. Join our call to free Assange!” RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

Tuesday 29 June
11.30 am BSTMembers of Parliament Protest at Belmarsh prison about the ongoing refusal to allow a meeting between Julian Assange and a cross-party group of British parliamentarians. 

Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 220 – Meeting between parliamentarians and Julian Assange

06:30 pm BSTFrom Guantanamo to Belmarsh, the story of imprisonment – In the evening join Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris and Mohamadou Salahi, whose story of imprisonment in Guantanamo was recently told in the film The Mauritanian, for an online discussion. Moderated by Suzie Gilbert.

Wednesday 30 June
The National Union of Journalists – Important message from Tim Dawsn: Why Julian Assange should be freed now, and how we can stop extra-territorial judicial harassment for good.

Thursday 1 July
10.45 am BSTRiver Thames protest boat ride – Tickets available on Eventbrite.

Friday 2 July
11:00 am BST / 8pm AESTThreats to the freedom of the press in 21st century – Online panel with Chamira Gamage from Amnesty International Australia, Julian Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson and Scott Ludlam, former Australian Senator. Moderated by journalist Mary Kostakidis.

Join Amnesty International Australia‘s movement of 110,000 Australians calling for the charges to be dropped, halt the extradition and release Julian Assange. Send your tweet now!

Saturday 3 July – Julian Assange’s 50th birthday
Picnic at Parliament Square for Julian Assange’s 50th birthday, from 1pm to 4pm BST. Please bring your own picnic. Due to Covid19 regulations, please wear face masks where required and use hand sanitizer regularly. Observe social distancing at all times.

Read messages collected for Julian Assange’s 50th birthday.

Monday 5 July – DiEM Voice organising a very special TV episode: Why are you so afraid of Julian Assange?
This exclusive episode will feature artists such as Davide Dormino and Angela Richter, who have been fighting over the years for Assange’s freedom, and for the future of the free press. They will discuss how the silencing of whistle-blowers, including cancel culture, hinders progressive change, and how art can have an impact in the defence of freedom of expression.

Thursday 6 JulyOR Books are offering a deep discounts this week in honor of Assange’s 50th birthday on Free Assange Reading List, with 10% off the purchase of one book, 20% off two, 30% off three, and 50% off four or more. Check out their website for book collections.

Thursday 8 July 6:30pm – Scotland for Assange
The growing campaign moves further to North. Join the conversation with Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP; George Kerevan, former associate Editor of the Scotsman and columnist for The National; Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner; and Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor in chief.

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Parliamentary Actions Press Clippings

Cross party group of UK parliamentarians call on President Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange ahead of G7 Summit in Cornwall

A coalition of UK members of parliament from 5 different parties have appealed in an open letter to US President Joe Biden to drop the politically motivated charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. The letter states: “We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.” The letter continues, “Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.”

Yesterday, during a parliamentary discussion on World Press Freedom and safety of journalists, UK MP and former Justice Secretary Richard Burgon appealed to President Biden to drop the charges and bring an end to extradition proceedings.

“I appeal to President Joe Biden, now in a country for the G7, to drop the charges so the extradition is called off.” Burgon continued, “President Biden was Vice President when President Obama took the decision not to prosecute Julian Assange because of the huge damage it would have done to press freedom.”

John McDonnell MP who was present at the debate via video link added his concern about Assange’s current state inside a British prison: “It’s a continuing stain on the reputation of this country that Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison. There are no justifiable grounds for keeping imprisoned a journalist who had the courage to expose war crimes and abuse of human rights.”

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Press Clippings

Geneva mobilizes to demand the release of Julian Assange

Julian Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, traveled to Geneva last weekend to attend the Geneva call to free Assange. A press conference hosted by the Geneva Press Club launched the appeal, followed by a public inauguration of the AnythingToSay? Statue the following day.

The initiative’s six demands, included a call on the U.S. administration to drop the charges without delay, while urging the British authorities to resist any extradition attempt.

Among the personalities and speakers present were United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, the mayor of Geneva Frédérique Perler, Geneva Councilor of States Carlo Sommaruga, the secretary general of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire, Member of the Grand Conseil Geneva Jean Rossiaud and the executive director of the Swiss Press Club Pierre Ruetschi.

“In no sane world should Julian Assange be in a prison cell for revealing concrete evidence of state crimes”

Watch Stella Moris’ full speech at the Geneva press conference here.

While in Geneva, Ms. Moris gave several interviews emphasizing that “All organizations defending press freedom are against the prosecution”, and that this case presents “the greatest threat to freedom of expression and of the press.” Ms. Moris added that she was pleased to see so much support in Geneva and the governments’ concern for Julian’s well-being.”

Prior to visiting Geneva. Ms. Moris attended a Paris press conference together with Julian Assange’s French lawyer Antoine Vey, in conjunction with the Association des Juristes de Sciences Po.

Watch Stella Moris’ interview with L’Humanité discussing the conditions Julian Assange faces while continuing to be unjustly detained. Unable to visit her partner since last October, Stella speaks of the “life and death” struggle for her partners life.

“It is unacceptable for a foreign power to be able tell Britain what to do. It’s time for President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Julian and Boris Johnson should ask him to do so at the G7 meeting in Cornwall this week. Hopefully then, justice will prevail.”

Read the latest interview in the Mail on Sunday with Stella Moris on Julian Assange’s indefinite imprisonment in a UK prison.

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Press Clippings

Public inauguration of the AnythingToSay? statue

June 5 – opening at 11:00 a.m.

Installed on the Pâquis pier, in front of the Geneva Jet d’eau, the sculpture by Davide Dormino anythingToSay? representing whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be officially inaugurated on Saturday, June 5, the day after the launch of the Geneva Call. These same guests will participate in the Geneva Appeal, launched by the Swiss Press Club, to demand the release of Julian Assange.

The Association of users of the Bains des Pâquis, initiator and organizer of the event, will also present an exhibition on whistleblowers and will host a debate at 6pm. Throughout the day, the public will be able to show their solidarity and everyone will be able to take turns to stand on the statue in the place assigned to the citizen.

The detailed program of the inauguration on June 5 from 11am is available on the website of the Bains des Pâquis, host of the statue: www.bains-des-paquis.ch.

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Press Clippings

Geneva calls for the immediate release of Julian Assange


Press Conference

June 4, 2pm – Bains des Pâquis, Quai Wilson, Geneva

By video-conference on Zoom

In the name of the humanitarian values rooted in Geneva, City of Peace
and Human Rights, a dozen personalities, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and the Mayor of Geneva, are mobilizing on June 4 to launch the “Geneva Call to Free Assange” #GVA_FreeAssange. The “AnythingToSay” statue dedicated to whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning as well as to Julian Assange will be installed at the same time on the Pâquis pier in front of the Geneva Jet d’eau.

The Geneva Appeal to free Assange, which includes six demands, will be made public and open for signature on June 4 at www.pressclub.ch.

The press conference will be broadcast live on www.pressclub.ch, the YouTube channel of the Swiss Press Club, and on Facebook Live.

With the presence and participation of:
Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s fiancée
Frédérique Perler, Mayor of Geneva (from June 1st)
Yves Daccord, Director General of the ICRC (2010 – 2020), former journalist
Carlo Sommaruga, State Councillor, Swiss Parliament
Antoine Vey, Julian Assange’s attorney
Denis Masmejan, secretary general, Reporters Without Borders Switzerland
Jean Rossiaud, former geneva parliamentarian, initiator of the Swiss visa idea for Assange
Blaise Lempen, president of Press Emblem Campaign (PEC)
Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks ambassador
Davide Dormino, sculptor (AnythingToSay?), member of DiEM25
Sarah Ducret, Association des Usagers des Bains des Pâquis
Christophe Deloire, Secretary general of Reporters Without Borders

Click here to see the program.

Go to the official Geneva Press Club website.

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Press Clippings

Truth Assange face mask on World Press Freedom Day

Tomorrow on World Press Freedom Day we invite you to download our TRUTH ASSANGE face mask available at dontextraditeassange.com/mask.pdf (PDF) or https://dontextraditeassange.com/mask.jpg (Image)
Take a selfie, and share it with #WorldPressFreedomDay and #DontExtraditeAssange on social media.

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Events

Our Friend Julian – Writers defend Julian Assange

On May 3rd, World Press Day, eleven distinguished writers will be heard in defence of Julian Assange. Assange is still being held in Belmarsh prison, as he awaits an appeal from the US government against Westminster Magistrates Court’s earlier refusal to extradite him. His only ‘crime’ is to have revealed the truth of US and UK war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

These eleven voices represent the eleven years since WikiLeaks released filmed footage of the killing of Iraqi civilians on a pavement in Baghdad by a US gunship. One of the participants, Marina Warner says:

The main principle of uncovering truth needs to be defended and the rights of prisoners who have not been charged or tried are in urgent need of defence.  Marina Warner DBE

The event will be introduced by world famous musician Brian Eno and he and Marina Warner will be joined by A.L. Kennedy, Charles Harris, Jan Woolf, Matt Devereaux, Richard Bradbury, Robert Ilson, George Szirtes, Michael Rosen, and actors Zoe Aaronson and Gilles Madan reading Adrian Mitchell’s great poem ‘To Whom it May Concern’.

Organiser Jan Woolf says, ‘Writers aren’t moralists, but their work carries moral weight. These writers are representing so many others who would have taken part. All realise that the case of Julian Assange represents the freedom of investigative journalism and a refusal to cover up war crimes. One day Julian Assange will universally be hailed as a hero.

‘This is an important statement from some of the UK’s leading writers on World Press Day. This country prides itself on a free press, but it cannot avoid the charge of hypocrisy while it holds Julian Assange in jail.’

Live-streamed May 3, 6pm BST on Don’t Extradite Assange campaign Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels. – https://linktr.ee/DEAcampaign

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Press Clippings

The National Union of Journalists (SNJ) in France calls on British authorities to release Assange

Two years ago today, Julian Assange was incarcerated in a British high security prison. He could only be taken out of it in overwhelming circumstances, to attend hearings where he was largely silenced. Last September, he was lugged daily from his cell to court, during the four-week trial on his extradition across the Atlantic.

If it has so far opposed the American request, the British justice refuses to give Julian Assange his freedom, on the pretext that he would take the opportunity not to appear in court during the appeal by the American side. An appeal that the Biden administration recently confirmed to have made.

As a reminder, the founder of WikiLeaks faces up to 175 years in prison in the United States, where he is notably accused of espionage. His crime: to have made it possible to reveal those of the American army in Iraq, in Afghanistan or even the conditions of detention in the prison of Guantánamo. The SNJ reiterates its support for Julian Assange, whose work has received journalism awards around the world and helped make possible the most massive public interest information leaks of the 21st century.

Julian Assange has, among other things, revealed the American espionage of the Elysee Palace: to good understanding …

The National Union of Journalists (SNJ), the profession’s leading organization, calls on all colleagues, to whom it has rendered an immense service to the detriment of his freedom and his health, to show him his support, to call on the British authorities to release him!

Paris le 11 Avril 2021

Read their statement from the official website.

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Statements

Julian Assange’s second anniversary in Belmarsh this Sunday 11 April 2021 – Read the latest case update by Stella Moris