17. 07. 2020
MPs have tabled a Commons’ motion opposing the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is yet another sign of cross parliamentary support.
The Early Day Motion has been tabled by Richard Burgon, the former Shadow Justice Secretary, and is supported by Labour’s Diane Abbott, the former Shadow Home Secretary, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party, Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru, Kenny MacAskill from the SNP, and Gavin Robertson from the DUP..
The motion notes the anti-extradition stances taken by the ‘National Union of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders’ and ‘affirms its commitment to press freedom and public-interest journalism’.
Other signatories include former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Claude Webbe, Clive Lewis and Bell Reberio-Addy.
‘This is a welcome sign of cross-party parliamentary support’ said WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell, ‘we urge every MP who cares about press freedom to add their name to this EDM. It’s an important way for MPs to register their concerns about this landmark civil liberties case’.
The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is urging its supporters to write to MPs urging them to support the EDM No. 719.
The EDM can be found here: Julian Assange, press freedom and public-interest journalism.
The remaining three weeks of the Julian Assange extradition hearing is due to start on 7 September 2020 at the Old Bailey and is anticipated to last for three weeks.
Julian Assange is charged by the Trump government with publishing the Afghan and Iraq War Logs for which he could face 175 years in jail.
Julian Assange’s lawyers have experienced a considerable difficulty communicating with their client. Speaking at a recent hearing, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said ‘We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.’ Mr Fitzgerald continued: ‘We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.’
The UN working group on arbitrary detention issued a statement saying that “the right of Mr. Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.
Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International has publicly stated on their website that, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”
Human Rights Watch published an article saying, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”
The NUJ has stated “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.