WikiLeaks supporters continue to write to their Members of Parliament educating them about the issues facing Julian Assange at British Courts, British prison and the years long persecution he has been under due to his WikiLeaks publications. We share here a couple more replies from Parliamentarians.
Reply to Constituent by Janet Daby MP for Lewisham East
Thank you for contacting me about Julian Assange. As I hope you understand, I cannot comment on ongoing legal matters apart from to say that any process must be fair and proper.
As you are aware, Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 for failing to surrender to the court in relation to extradition proceedings to Sweden in 2012, in breach of his UK bail conditions. He was found guilty of this offence and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in May 2019.
The United States has since submitted a full extradition request to the UK in respect of Mr Assange, which he is challenging. A full hearing for Mr Assange’s extradition to the US commenced on 24 February 2020. This is due to continue on 18 May 2020. These are matters to be determined by the court and MPs cannot interfere.
I am aware that Mr Assange’s recent request for bail in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak was denied. Again, this is a matter for the courts not politicians. On the issue of dealing with coronavirus in our prison system, the Government has been pressed on this by the Shadow Justice Secretary. I believe it is clear that urgent steps must be taken to reduce the spread of this virus in our prisons.
Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views.
Reply to Constituent by Sarah Olney Member of Parliament for Richmond Park
Thank you for writing to me to express your concerns on Julian Assange’s case.
Fair trials, not trial via media, are vital for both the accused and the survivors. It is crucial that as a society we take rape allegations seriously. Whatever your opinion on Wikileaks and Assange’s actions, we must ensure that no one is above the law and justice should be done. We must remember that at the centre of this is a woman who has waited almost a decade to have her allegation investigated and who now won’t have that opportunity because Assange hid from justice for so long.
Extradition to the US is a matter for the courts to decide and we shouldn’t prejudge the decision. For this reason, I have not signed EDM 719.
The law makes clear that the judge must consider human rights when deciding whether to grant extradition. However, the Liberal Democrats have raised concerns about the UK-US Extradition Treaty, especially the fact that there is no requirement for the US to provide prima facie evidence of guilt when requesting extradition ever since it was signed in 2003.
This is a reminder of how important the European Arrest Warrant is. It’s a vital crime-fighting tool that has enabled us to arrest more than 15,000 suspects in the UK since it was introduced in 2004 and to bring more than 1,600 people to face justice in the UK.
Appeal to WikiLeaks supporters!
Remember that for issues of national importance like this one, anyone can write to these Members of Parliament educating them with facts about this case which will determine the future of journalistic freedom world wide. The journey is long but the opportunities to get involved in shaping the outcome are endless as well as open to people of all skills and inclinations. Do you want to demonstrate in the streets? Join our protests, do you wish to stand in solidarity with Julian Assange? Join our peaceful vigils, Do you enjoy learning, researching and letter writing? write to your MP, local councillor, trade union. It is up to you, literally you who read these lines to act now to defend this precious gift, press freedom and the right to know what is being done in our name but without our consent. This is a gift that ordinary people through our actions and words and our involvement in public life, through our grassroots activism, give to ourselves.
I would like to thank all those who persistently write educating parliamentarians. The letters we write today are the foundations of the letters we write tomorrow. Keep communicating with your elected representatives letting them know your views and concerns. It is upon our wish they seat on the leather benches of parliament!