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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

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Parliamentary Actions Post Press Release

EDM 220 – Assange Meeting with Parliamentarians

Please email your MP using our app to ask them to sign Early Day Motion 220.

Motion Text:

‘That this House expresses its concern at the refusal of the UK Government and prison authorities to allow an online video meeting between Julian Assange and a cross-party group of British parliamentarians; notes that the request was first made in December 2020 in a letter signed by 17 British parliamentarians from four parties; believes parliamentarians must be allowed to discuss important issues relating to press freedoms and the UK-US Extradition Treaty with interested parties; and calls on the Government to facilitate this meeting between Julian Assange and a cross-party group of parliamentarians.’

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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.”