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Local councils across Australia call for Assange to be freed. Councils in the UK should follow their lead…

In recent months local councils across Australia have called for the release of Julian Assange so that the WikiLeaks founder no longer has to face extradition to the US where he could face 175 years in jail for revealing the truth about the Afghan and Iraq wars.

Murad Qureshi from the Greater London Authority (GLA) said, ‘this is a great initiative by local councils in Australia. I hope UK local authorities follow suit in the fight to defend free speech’.

Council’s in Melbourne City, Victoria, Moreland, Victoria, the City of Fremantle, Western Australia, Byron Bay, New South Wales (NSW), Lismore (NSW), Yarra, Victoria, and Darebin, Victoria, have all added their voices to the new wave of protest.

Campaigners are asking that local authorities around the world, especially those twinned with Australian towns and cities, and those in the UK where Assange is held, also put their weight behind the new push to free Assange.

The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is circulating a model motion based on the Melbourne City councils successful resolution to help local councillors in the UK to get their authorities on board.

This Council:

  1. Reasserts its staunch support for Freedom of the
    Press and the Rule of Law and the extension of both to all people.

  2. Notes that WikiLeaks has played an important and effective role in disclosing war crimes, corporate fraud, environmental damage and other criminal abuses.

  3. Notes that Mr Assange is currently being held on remand in HMP Belmarsh  without charge, locked in a cell for 23 hours per day.

  4. Notes that Mr Assange is now in very poor health and is facing extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States of America (USA) in an unprecedented Espionage Act prosecution for engaging in journalistic activity and, if convicted, faces 175 years imprisonment and potentially the death penalty.

  5. Notes that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for Mr Assange’s immediate release and that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has examined Mr Assange in Belmarsh Prison and believes that his life is in danger.

  6. Notes and supports Amnesty International’s call for the UK to not extradite Mr Assange to the USA and that the UK abide by its obligations under international human rights law that forbids the transfer of individuals to another country where they would face serious human rights violations.

  7. Notes that other major civil liberties, media freedom and human
    rights groups have spoken out against the arrest and treatment of Julian Assange and include:

    The International BAR Association of Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
    The European Council
    The Australian Federal Parliamentary Group headed by Mr Andrew Wilkie
    The Federal Parliament of Catalonia
    The Federal Parliament of Austria
    The former Foreign Minister of Germany
    The Mexican Prime Minister
    A Doctors Group of over 150 German Doctors
    The 130 Prominent Germans Group
    Many international Lawyers Groups
    Teachers Groups in Melbourne and Sydney
    Writers and Journalist Groups
    PEN International
    City Councils including Geneva, Yarra, Darebin, Moreland and Byron Shire
    Freedom of the Press Foundation
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
    Reporters Without Borders
    Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    Australian Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)
    Blueprint for Free Speech
    Center for Constitutional Rights
    FAIR
    Media Watch
    Code Pink
    Cage UK
    Human Rights Law Centre (Australia)
    Digital Rights Watch (Australia)
    IFEX (global network of organisations that promote and defend the right
    to freedom of expression and information)
    Fair Trials (global criminal justice watchdog)
    Freedom of the Press Foundation
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
    The New Yorker
    International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
    A global petition compiled of approximately 400,000 signatures

  8. Requests that the Council’s officers write to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary forthwith requesting that they immediately intervene in this matter to ensure that the appropriate authorities urgently address Mr Assange’s poor health and mistreatment.

  9. Issue a public statement of the above points for dissemination through its regular media channels advising of the council’s position and inform’s MPs of the same.