By Alison Mason and Joe Brack
JUSTICE FOR HARRY, JUSTICE FOR JULIAN … Solidarity with those trapped in injustice by the imbalance of the US/UK extradition Treaty
The Extradition Treaty between the UK and the US is unbalanced in favour of the US.
The Committee to Defend Julian Assange (Grassroots solidarity with the WikiLeaks publisher) strongly supports the extradition of Ann Sacoolas from the US to face justice in the United Kingdom on charges of death by dangerous driving after her car struck Harry Dunn, 19, near RAF Croughton on August 27, 2019. We will campaign for Justice for Harry and Justice for Julian, and greet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he meets PM Boris Johnson at Downing St at midday and outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when he meets UK First Secretary of State Dominic Raab at 12.45pm tomorrow.
Ms Sacoolas worked for the CIA and despite police investigation of the incident was whisked away to the US where she remains, even though an Interpol Red Notice has been issued.
The non-co-operation of United States authorities is emblematic of the imbalance in this treaty, also exemplified by the case of journalist and publisher Julian Assange. The Wikileaks editor has been arbitrarily detained for a decade in the UK, for seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy and a further one year and three months in solitary confinement in Belmarsh HMP where, uncharged, and with serious health conditions stemming from a lack of sunlight and access to medical treatment, he awaits the second part of an extradition hearing to commence September 7.
On Tuesday morning at the Old Bailey (now called Central Criminal Court) where the second part of the show trial is mooted to be held, iconic British designer Vivienne Westwood will be performing “I Am Julian” suspended 10ft in a giant bird cage to draw attention to Mr Assange’s plight. Ms Westwood’s Canary in the Coalmine action shines a light on the dangerous precedent Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States will establish. The canary dies if there is too much noxious gas in the coalmine, and press freedom will be lost if Mr Assange is given over to a secret trial in the US security state heartland of Alexandria Virginia where he faces imprisonment for 175 years. No journalist or news outlet will be safe from the extra-territorial reach of the United States for publishing material the United States does not want the public to be informed about.
A treaty signed in 2003 by both countries contains a section that explicitly applies to political offences. It states, “Extradition shall not be granted if the offence for which extradition is requested is a political offence.”
Her Majesty the Queen said she could not intervene on behalf of Mr Assange because it was a political matter. Julian Assange is a political prisoner and should be released on bail immediately as his life is in danger from a risk of covid-19 in a prison in which at least two people have already died.
Clearly, Ms Sacoolas faces serious charges in the United Kingdom and justice will only be served if she faces them in court in this country.
We demand Justice for Harry and Justice for Julian. Supporters are expected to number in the 30-70 range but could be more depending if people go to Ms Westwood’s action first, and a spokesperson will be on hand to take any media questions. Thank you for your interest in this serious issue for the United Kingdom.
Alison Mason and Joe Brack