On the 28th August 2022, The Assange Campaign Inc wrote to the Prime Minster of Australia and copies to other senior ministers. The open letter reads:
Subject: Open Letter on the Concerns of Many Australians About the Well Being and Future of Julian Assange.
To: Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister
CC: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Attorney-General, Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, MP
Dear Prime Minister,
As secretary for the Assange Campaign Inc., I wish to raise with you the concerns of many Australians about the well being and future of Julian Assange.The Assange Campaign Inc is Australia’s peak body supporting Julian Assange. The concerns and issues we raise below represent the views of:
- 700,000+ petitioners on change.org
- senders of more than 110,000 + emails to Members of Parliament
- 500,000+ viewers of the film Ithaka on the ABC
- numerous groups that participate in events nationwide
- a multitude of users active online and in social media
- active groups of professionals such as:
- Lawyers for Assange
- Doctors for Assange
- Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)
- concerned religious groups
Recent polling shows us the majority of Australians who are aware of Mr. Assange’s circumstances favour his return to Australia.
I am writing to ask you to use your influence with your colleagues in the UK and the United States to ensure Mr Assange is released from Belmarsh prison and into a home detention and/or electronic monitoring setting as soon possible.
We were very encouraged by your election commitment that the “ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange” served no evident “purpose” and that “enough is enough”. We wish to take up your offer to “change the way politics operates in this country and actually answer questions”, and to provide some “transparency” of process long denied by the previous Government.
Our question, then, is what progress in your ninety-nine days of government has been made to ensure that Mr Assange’s mental and physical health are prioritised which means his release from Belmarsh prison.
This request is made on the basis it addresses many urgent concerns relating to Mr. Assange such as:
- unrestricted access to medical attention of his own choosing
- unrestricted access to legal services in his own timing and choosing
- unrestricted access to the healing benefits of family life
- a non violent detainee should not be incarcerated with violent criminals
- an uncharged detainee should not be incarcerated with convicted detainees
- an uncharged detainee should not be incarcerated in an institution lacking facilities to provide for uncharged detainees
- one thousand, two hundred and fifteen days incarcerated in Belmarsh Prison without conviction
We have been warned Mr Assange’s situation is life threatening and this request is based on the presumption of innocence before conviction and other core international human rights. Both the UK and Australia are signatories to common binding treaties.
This is simply a request for you to stand up for fair play for Australian citizens when detained abroad.
Our grassroots connections believe that your commitment to ‘change the way politics operates in this country’ has added heart into the management of our country, better reflecting our national spirit of fairness. Your commitment to the Voice to Parliament has been critical to this. We understand you will receive various official briefings on the Assange case but, for all those in Australia and globally who fear for Julian, we hope you can reply not just from your head but with some of this heart your Government has shared elsewhere.
We wish you every success in Government and feel our democracy will be strengthened by it.
In support, a quote from the book,
‘The Trial of Julian Assange’ by Nils Melzer (Former UN Rapporteur on torture)
“Quite obviously, however, for purely preventive custody, the extremely restrictive conditions at Belmarsh were neither necessary nor proportionate – two mandatory basic requirements for any lawful interference with fundamental rights. Instead, Assange should have been moved to a less securitized institution or to guarded house arrest, with unrestricted access to his professional activities, to his family, his lawyers and the outside world more generally.”(Page 273
A summary of this book is available at https://www.assangecampaign.org.au/trial-assange/
Letter can be downloaded as a pdf
References for commitments used in letter
1. Daily Mail 2021-2-3
‘Enough is Enough’ he [Mr. Albanese] responded. ‘I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.’
2 Sydney Morning Herald Albanese reveals two-term strategy if Labor wins
The Labor leader said if he won government on Saturday he wanted to “change the way that politics operates in this country” by avoiding soundbites and “actually answering questions”.
3. Twitter @AlboMP
The Australian people deserve accountability and transparency, not secrecy.
4. ALP National Platform 2021 Page 144
Labor believes that the Australian government should be doing everything necessary to ensure that Mr Julian Assange is treated fairly and humanely, and welcomes the priority given to the health and welfare of Mr Assange in the UK Court’s decision. This includes ensuring that under no circumstances should Mr Assange or any Australian face the death penalty. The UK Court has found that Mr Assange should not be extradited to the USA given his ill-health, and Labor believes it is now time for this long drawn out case against Julian Assange to be brought to an end.