Oppose US bid to prosecute Julian #Assange for exposing US war crimes and cover ups by @PeterTatchell

On the 19th of May 2017 Peter Tatchell speaks to Sky News outside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

This is what he had to say (Rough Transcript):

Swedish Prosecution drops investigation against Julian Assange and prospect of US charges

Well, quite clearly that was the right thing to do, because after all, even subsequent to the interview he did with the Swedish Prosecutors last year, no charges have ever been preferred against Julian Assange. So, in the absence of charges, of course the prosecution should be dropped, that was the right thing to do. Now, of course as you say he faces the prospect, most seriously of a US extradition order to face charges of Espionage in connection with the publication of US Cables and intelligence information. Now, these charges are very very serious. He could face 30 or 50 years in prison and the prospect of being abused and mistreated in prison as happened to Chelsea Manning in the early days of her imprisonment. So, these are really serious concerns for Julian Assange and the US Attorney General Geoff Sessions only a month ago said that arresting Julian Assange is a priority. We know that there is evidence of a secret Grand Jury has already been convened and the prospect of charges, therefore, I would say is pretty imminent.

Chelsea Manning is a whistleblower, Julian Assange is publishing WikiLeaks

Well, of course there is a big disparity between the way in which Chelsea Manning has been treated, and the way in which Julian Assange is being treated. Chelsea Manning leaked the information. WikiLeaks and Julian Assange merely published it, so they were not whistleblowers or leakers they were publishers. They’ve got the same status as the New York Times or The Guardian who also published some of this information. So, why the Trump administration is going after Julian Assange in particular, doesn’t make sense, not logical and it’s not moral. This of course hides the fact that the key issue in this case is one of press and journalistic freedom. Should publishers whether it be WikiLeaks or The New York Times have the right to publish information which reveals wrong doing by the US government and military? I believe they should have that right, I believe it’s in the public interest, and I applaud them for doing it.

Julian Assange has a right to asylum but is used by USUK not done the right thing

Well, of course since he has claimed Asylum, which is his right under international law, he should be given free passage to go to Ecuador to seek refuge there, refuge which has been granted by the Ecuadorian government. So that would be the right thing to do but all along in this case, I don’t think that the British and US governments have necessarily done the right thing. They have looked after their own particular interest, they want to send a signal, they are using Julian Assange essentially to send a signal: “you better not blow the whistle, you better not publish things, you better not get out of line, because we’ll come after you”.

Swedish Allegations against Julian Assange and a public interest defence for WikiLeaks

As much as I supported WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in revealing the kind of Human Rights abuses that were perpetrated by US forces in Iraq and so on, I always said that he should face these sex allegations charges, they are very serious he should face them and of course he was very willing to face them, from the get go he initially went through a preliminary investigation were the Swedish prosecutors said there was no crime there was no case to answer and he was free to leave Sweden. It’s only when a second prosecutor got the case that the allegations were revived and the attempt to get him to Sweden was pursued. All those issues aside I am not going to in a position to say whether was guilty of any sexual crimes, if he was of course he should be punished, but the fact that he has not been prosecuted, the fact that there were never been any charges laid against him does not point to a strong legal case that he committed sex crimes. But, we’ll leave that in the bands. The key thing right now is that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have over the years performed very important public services in shining a light on information that governments had kept secret from the public. We the people have a right to know what governments are doing in our names. If it wasn’t for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks we would not have known a lot of very important things, so in that sense of performing a public interest defence I think WikiLeaks and Julian Assange ought to be applauded.

Peter Tatchell and others stand in solidarity with Julian Assange on 19th May 2017

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