On the 21st September 2020, Lawyers for Assange issued this:
A remarkable international letter has been signed today by 161 heads of state, former heads of state and a raft of ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats urging the UK government to halt Mr Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings and to grant his immediate release from Belmarsh prison in London, where he is being held in solitary confinement by British authorities without legal grounds since April 2019.
The signatories include Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina (2019-), Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil (2011-2016), Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia (2006-2019), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil (2003 -2010), and Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador (2007 – 2017), José Luis Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain (2004- 2011), Jeremy Corbyn, former Leader of Labour Party (2015-2020), Adolfo Perez Esquivel Nobel Prize Laureate, Members of the European Parliament, and other Parliamentarians worldwide.
The unprecedented appeal to the UK government by the international political community comes to endorse the legal opinion issued by international legal experts addressed to the UK Government and released as an open letter on 18 August. The legal opinion expresses grave concerns about the political prosecution of Mr Julian Assange, the flagrant violation of his fundamental rights, the violation domestic and international law by the United Kingdom, and challenges the legality of the Trump administration’s prosecution, in particular the extension of the reach of the US legal system beyond its own territory.
The UK has a long-standing tradition as a guarantee of individual freedoms and liberal democracy, incompatible with current extradition proceedings, which is causing astonishment and outrage within the international perception.
This joint political statement shows the growing understanding across the legal and political spectrum that the potential extradition of Mr Julian Assange by the UK to the USA would set a precedent that violates historical international agreements and human rights. It would give the green light to political prosecutions, criminalization of investigative journalism as espionage; it would affirm the worldwide jurisdiction of the United States and the right to absolute secrecy of States about war crimes, state torture and corruption.
The full list of signatories: http://www.lawyersforassange.org/en/endorsements.html
For more information contact:
Sara Vivacqua 00 44 (0)777 47 888 20 or
The remaining three weeks of the Julian Assange extradition hearing began on 7 September 2020 at the Old Bailey will last for at least two more 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 in 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 criminalize the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.
QUOTES – POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT
Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil:
If the democrats of planet earth, including all journalists, all lawyers, all trade unionists, all politicians, don’t have the courage to speak up in defence of Assange to halt his extradition; it means that there are a lot of democrats that are liers; it means that the idea that the freedom of the press is enshrined by the prominent newspapers, is a lie.
(…) It will not be the knee of a policeman killing a black man; it will be the knee of millions of leaders worldwide choking Assange to death. And we have no right to allow that. “
“Assange needs to be defended by all of us who love democracy, who love freedom of the press, freedom of trade unions, who love freedom of organization. Freedom has no adjectives, or is freedom, or is not freedom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUj2fWSX1eI&t=4296s (01:05 et seq)
‘I say to Julian Assange that all those who believe in democracy, all those who believe in human rights…cannot let Assange be extradited’.
“All democratic countries should shout for their freedom.”
“We defend Julian Assange for our deep commitment to the defence of freedom of information and press, essential principles of democracy itself.”
Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil:
“Assange is being arrested because he has revealed to the world abuses committed by the US government and large corporations. The intention is to ban the truth and prevent the free flow of information. His imprisonment is an attack on democracy, and the democratic press cannot remain silent.”
“He is being persecuted and crushed by a machine of lies manipulated by lawfare,”
Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia:
“If their case is essentially that Mr Assange broke the law by obtaining and disclosing secret information, then I struggle to see what separates him from any journalist who solicits, obtains and publishes such information. This includes the editors of the many American media outlets that reported the material…why should Mr Assange be tried, convicted and incarcerated while those who publicly release the information are afforded protection under provisions of the US constitution concerning press freedom? “
Open letter published on his website
Barnaby Joyce, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia:
“If we let this fallthrough, if this slip happens, then really, what is the difference if he did something that was an affront to Koranic law and Saudi Arabia asked for him to be extradited to Saudi Arabia, although he wasn’t there?”
“.. his extradition to the United States, where he will go to jail forever, 175 years, be in maximum security and basically be bereft of any real connection to a proper trial, which would be ridiculous in any case because he was never in their country when they propose he committed a crime. “
“This is an issue for Australians at the highest level. I call on Minister Payne, and I call on the Attorney-General for their very best efforts in making sure that the sovereignty of our nation, the truth of our nation, the whole mechanism and reason for our nation, are respected by reason of an Australian citizen not being extradited to a third country.”
Speech in the Australian Federal Parliament:
Bob Carr, former Australian Foreign Minister:
“If America gets away with plucking him out of the UK to goon trial in Virginia & end up in jail for the rest of his life – to die in jail – then all our freedoms are compromised. It’s a shocking precedent for extraterritorial reach.”
“Julian Assange is on trial for one thing… ( ), he exposed American war crimes in Iraq”.
“Whatever Assange did in 2010-2011 it was not espionage, and he’s not a US citizen. His actions took place outside the US. Under this precedent, anyone, anywhere, who publishes anything the US state brands secret could be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act and offered to the maw of its notoriously cruel justice system.”
- Sydney Morning Herald
- Bob’s statements in this video launched today in Amnesty campaign (he will be presenting the petition to the US Embassy this week)
Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Clark and Co-Chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group:
“Julian Assange is being politically persecuted for publishing information that was in the public interest, including hard evidence of US war crimes. That the perpetrator of those war
crimes, America, is now seeking to extradite Mr Assange is unjust in the extreme and arguably illegal under British law. If it goes ahead, not only would Mr Assange face 175 years in prison, but the precedent would be set for all Australians, and particularly journalists, that they are at risk of being extradited to any country they offend.”
Mikuláš Peksa, Member of European Parliament, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Freedom of speech remains a crucial value in the beginning of the 21st century. Despite it sometimes revealing inconvenient truths, we shall do our best to protect it.