UK MPs – Let us meet with Julian Assange

On the 28th June 2021,  Brian McGleenon reported in The Express that UK Labour MP, Richard Burgon, was handing a letter enquiring on the ‘apparent difficulties’ in meeting with Julian Assange to the UK authorities.

Richard Burgon MP, who coordinated the letter from 20 parliamentarians from 4 parties said: “Julian Assange’s case has huge implications for press freedoms in the UK and for the US-UK Extradition Treaty

“It’s in the public interest that British Parliamentarians are able to discuss these issues with Julian Assange.

“That the authorities have repeatedly stopped an online meeting going ahead speaks volumes.

“The Justice Secretary and Prison Governor must now put a stop to their intransigence and allow it to go ahead without further delay”

The full letter reads

Dear Governor,

We are deeply concerned by the ongoing refusal of you and the Justice Secretary to allow an online video meeting between Julian Assange and a cross-party group of British parliamentarians. 

As you know Julian Assange is currently on remand in HMP Belmarsh, not for the violation of any UK law, but over extradition to the USA for his journalistic work carried out in the UK at the invitation of The Guardian and published in numerous leading newspapers worldwide. 

In the US, Julian Assange faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years, meaning he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

This case has important implications for press and publishing freedoms in the UK and for the US-UK Extradition Treaty including its ban on extradition for political offences. 

We, therefore, believe it is vital that parliamentarians be allowed to discuss these important issues with interested parties. We are not making this request as private citizens but as British Parliamentarians deeply concerned by the potential consequences of this high-profile case. 

This could be permitted under the rules for Official Visits which state that there can be visits from “public officials whom the Governor permits to visit”. 

A cross-party group of parliamentarians first requested an online meeting in December 2020. It is simply unacceptable that six months on this simple request continues to be met with such intransigence. 

You have the authority to grant such a meeting and we call on you to facilitate an online meeting without further delay.

The signatories of the letter are
Richard Burgon MP,
Diane Abbott MP, 
Baroness Christine Blower, 
Ian Byrne MP, 
Jeremy Corbyn MP, 
Lord Bryn Davies, 
Neale Hanvey MP, 
Lord John Hendy, 
Ian Lavery MP, 
Caroline Lucas MP, 
Kenny MacAskill MP, 
John McDonnell MP, 
Ian Mearns MP, 
Grahame Morris MP, 
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, 
Tommy Sheppard MP, 
Lord Prem Sikka, 
Zarah Sultana MP, 
Claudia Webbe MP, 
Mick Whitley MP

Read original article in the Express