After defending Julian Assange’s Freedom during his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, on Friday 14.06.2019 we visited The House of Commons to hand deliver more than 30 letters to Labour Party front benchers.
Each and everyone of us can take effective steps to demand no US extradition for the WikiLeaks publisher. Let’s make the difference!!
OUR LETTER TO THE LABOUR FRONT BENCHERS
The Julian Assange Defence Committee is writing this urgent letter to all of the Labour Front Bench to demand that you act on the statements made by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot on 11 April and publicly oppose the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA. He is facing Espionage charges there and a possible sentence of 175 years solely for exposing war crimes by the USA and the UK. He has no chance of a fair trial. This is a life and death issue not only for Julian Assange but for democracy itself. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has today signed the request for him to be extradited to the US.
On 1 June UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer said, when asked if he feared Julian Assange might die in prison: ‘Absolutely yes, that is a fear that I think is very real.’ His report found that Julian Assange has suffered several years of ‘psychological torture’ by states that had been ‘ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse’ him.
Since 11 April nothing has been said by Labour. The silence has been overwhelming. Labour has not spoken when:
• Julian Assange was gaoled for 50 weeks and extraordinarily placed in the high-security Belmarsh prison – on a bail conviction. Subsequently his health further deteriorated.
• He had all his belongings removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy and handed over to the USA
• Espionage charges were brought against him – the first time such charges have been brought against a journalist/publisher
• The UN Rapporteur found that he has been tortured. He also reminded the UK of its ‘obligation to ensure Assange’s unimpeded access to legal counsel, documentation and adequate preparation…’ This access has not happened.
• Jeremy Hunt attacked UN ‘interference’ and expressed his support for extradition to the USA.
The life and liberty of Julian Assange is at stake. So too is the issue of a free press – a fundamental democratic right. The persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – with little opposition from those who claim to uphold democracy – has given the green light for further attacks on press freedom. The American Civil Liberties Union warned: “Any prosecution by the United States of Mr.Assange for WikiLeaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.’
That attack on the press has begun with a police raid targeting journalists at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and News Corp. The ABC raid concerned a story about Australian war crimes in Afghanistan – based on leaked documents. Even the BBC stated: ‘The police raid against our partners at ABC is an attack on press freedom which we at the BBC find deeply troubling.’
We are well aware from our campaigning that there is broad support for Julian Assange and outrage at his treatment amongst Labour Party members. Many are deeply dissatisfied with Labour inaction and silence on this issue. We will campaign to alert your members about continued inaction on your part.