12 November 2020
Unite welcomes the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemnation of the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We applaud the NUJ’s campaign to draw to broad attention concern about the implications of this for free speech.
Unite further joins the NUJ in further condemning the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. The Espionage Act has also been used in the past to jail trade unionists and criminalise the activities of those who wish to report on the incompetence, corruption and illegality of the powerful.
Unite believes that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press and that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.
The report of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, concluded that there was “overwhelming evidence that Assange had been subject to psychological torture”. This report also notes the conclusion of more than 60 doctors from around the world that Assange’s health has deteriorated to such an extent that he is in no fit state to stand trial.
Unite calls on all trade unions and civil society to support this campaign and to oppose the persecution of Julian Assange.