Published by Sky News on 19 May 2017
Rough Transcript of the speech follows:
Today is an important victory for me and for the UN Human Rights System, but it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge, in prison under house arrest, and almost five years here in this embassy, without sunlight.
Seven years without charge while my children grew up without me. That is not something that I can forgive, it is not something that I can forget.
Swedish indefinite detention, Extradition without charge
The inevitable inquiry to what has occurred in this moment of terrible injustice is something that I hope will be more than just about me, and this situation, because the reality is, detention and extradition without charge has become a feature of the European Union, a feature which has been exploited, yes, in my case for political reasons, but in other cases has subjected many people to terrible injustices.
In Sweden, indefinite detention is a policy, there is no time limit for and someone can be detained with-out-charge. That is not how we expect a civilised state to behave. Similarly extradition without charge, is not something that we expect from the rule of law in the United Kingdom. It’s a measure that was introduced as part of the European Union system to turn the European Union in to a Federation. In 2014 in response to my situation and other abuses, the UK government changed the law to prevent further extradition without charge from the UK but it is still a problem in the rest of the European Union.
Thanking UN, Ecuador, legal team
I would like to thank in this situation the United Nations, particularly its Human Rights system which is the last resort that we all have when we are bound up in our legal circumstances with the particular politics of a country, or, the geopolitics that exist within states. I would also like to thank Ecuador, its people and its asylum system, who have stood by my asylum despite very intense pressure including pressure to use the European Union’s trade system to penalise Ecuadorian exporters, terrible violation. I would also like to thank my legal team who worked very hard and for no money and all the other people who have stood by me in this process, but let us understand, while today is an important victory and an important vindication, the road is far from over.
“The war, the proper war, is just commencing”
The war, the proper war, is just commencing, the UK has said it will arrest me regardless. Now the United States, CIA director Pompeo, and the US Attorney General have said that I and other WikiLeaks staff have no rights, we have no first amendment rights and that my arrest and the arrest of our other staff is a priority. That’s not acceptable. WikiLeaks will continue its publications, today in fact we published new important material from the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA Vault7 Athena, a system to penetrate and spy on, in a statistical way, anyone that the CIA happens to be interested in. Such measures are conducted without warrant and the threats towards me, my staff, and WikiLeaks as a publisher, will not be tolerated and have not been tolerated, our publications are proceeding at speed, and that speed in relation to the CIA is accelerating.
Asylum Rights and US extradition
Finally, in relation to asylum rights, that we all have, we do all have them, the United Kingdom, the European Union is a party to the 1951 convention on refugees. It states that it adheres for the right for all people to seek asylum, to receive asylum and to enjoy asylum. I have that right in a political case, we all have that right. So, the claim by the United Kingdom, that it has a right to arrest me for seeking asylum I a case were there have been no charges which is now being dismissed, is simply untenable. My staff, my legal staff, have contacted the United Kingdom authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue, about what is the best way forward, to some extend the United Kingdom has been exploited by the process it entered into with the European Union where it agreed to extradite people without charge or any consideration as to the facts. That is to an extent a false position the United Kingdom has been put into and the first part of that is over, the UK refuses to confirm or deny at this stage whether a US extradition order is already in the UK territory. So, this is the dialogue that we want to happen. Similarly, with the United States, while there have been extremely threatening remarks made I am always happy to engage in a dialogue with the department of Justice about what has occurred.
Finally, we’ve had another very important victory this week, even more important and more conclusive than the one we have achieved today. That is the release of Chelsea Manning from prison after seven years detained in a military prison. Through an extensive fight, we and others managed to have him [her] released 28 years early from his [her], alleged WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, sentence.
Call for support
Some very important victories but the legal conflict with the United States and the United Kingdom at a formal level continues, and I and WikiLeaks as a publisher encourage you to continue to support us in that fight. For us of course, for our alleged sources, but also because precedents are being set. The precedent whether people have the right to seek asylum and the precedent about whether we have the right to publish information, all of us. How can it be that a journalist and publisher operating from Europe can be extradited to the United states? We do not operate in the United States, we do not publish from the United States. That’s a threat to all journalists around the world wherever they operate, that if they expose serious abuses occurring in the national security domain, there is a threat to extradite them or indite their organisation or their staff. Ok, that’s it guys, Bye bye.