Many write to UK media to urge them to correct the record in the Julian Asange case or simply to stand up for the man who has defended Press Freedom and the right to publish with his body. Here is a fine example full of passion and good resources to use. It is written by an International supporter.
Dear Madam, Sir,
I write to you about your least favourite subject: the extradition case of Julian Assange.
Since the preliminary investigation into allegations of rape lesser serious case (which is the correct wording, not „charges“) has been dropped for the third time although the UK media have begged the Swedish prosecutor to extradite
Mr. Assange your stance should have changed, but it hasn’t. And I want to ask you why.
Mr. Assange has served a 50 week sentence for a bail offence. This has among other incidents caused Reporters Without Borders to put the UK two ranks back in the press freedom ranking
Since then he is held on remand because the USA want him extradited for publishing what they didn’t want to see published. Most of the big newspapers have criticised this, but that was it.
Not many journalists of the UK papers showed up at the hearings, there was not much reporting.
The UN Special rapporteur for torture has visited Mr. Assange a year ago with two experts (Prof. Duarte Vieira Nuno and Dr. Pau Perez-Sales) and found according to the Istanbul protocol Mr. Assange showed all the symptoms of psychological torture.
He did that even twice
The UK authorities didn’t reply for months to his detailed letter and also didn’t anything to alleviate Mr. Assanges situation. They put him into isolation in „health care“ where his only contacts were a schizophrenic inmate and a disabled man who had tried to kill his wife (Der Spiegel print Nr. 9, 22.2.2020) for 6 months.
The UK has also ignored and ridiculed the UNWGAD who found Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained in 2016.
The UNWGAD also dismissed the UKs objection
And there are more statements
Mr. Assanges lawyers have repeatedly complained they have not enough access to their client, he doesn’t have a computer, sometimes he even lacked pen and paper.
In February when the first part of the hearing started, there were observers from Reporters Without Borders, German MPs, members of the European Parliament and Human Rights organisations.
Reporters Without Borders were very concerned about the treatment of Julian Assange: presented like a terrorist in a glass cage, he was visibly unwell and was mistreated
„RSF observers remain concerned for Assange’s wellbeing, as he appeared very pale and tired throughout the hearing, and complained several times that he could not follow proceedings properly or communicate easily with his legal team from the glass-partitioned dock. On day two, Assange’s lawyer reported that he had been mistreated at Belmarsh prison; after the first day of the hearing, he was strip-searched twice, handcuffed 11 times, moved holding cells five times, and had his legally privileged documents confiscated on entering and exiting the prison. The judge stated it was not a matter within her jurisdiction. On day four, she rejected his application to be allowed to sit with his lawyers in the courtroom when evidence is given in May, despite the fact that the prosecution did not object to the request.“
The mistreatment of Mr. Assange caused the International Bar Association to release a damning statement
Reporters Without Borders also started a petition against extradition
The Council of Europe Media Freedom has issued a level 1 media alert about Mr. Assange detention
And have received a unsatisfying reply by the UK authorities.
This seems to be the pattern: the UK authorities never engage in a dialogue, there are only denials.
The Council Of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has demanded to defend the rights of Julian Assange
And the European Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a statement against extradition
Also Amnesty International has put out several statements supported by most regional Amnesty divisions except the UK
There are journalists union statements all across Europe who condemn the extradition process as well as US human right and civil rights groups.
This list is long, but far from complete.
I ask you: where are the British media? Where are the reports about that? Interviews?
The UK media have been very hostile against Julian Assange and have written about every tiny little bit, but when the whole of Europe and international law are against the UK there is mostly silence and only press agency reports. So you don’t even know about the permanent issues the press has reporting about the case.
It can’t be you can’t change your mind when press freedom are a stake and the violation of human rights in the UK if I may say that.
As Rebecca Vincent, the UK Bureau Director for Reporters Without Borders puts it:
„In whose interest is it for Assange to be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison? In whose interest is it to leave him exposed to COVID-19 in Belmarsh prison? As a dual US-UK national, I would expect much better from both of my countries. It’s not too late to do the right thing.“
Please do the right thing and get behind Mr. Assange, I still believe the press can make a difference