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. –

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