Free Craig Murray! Statement by the Committee to Defend Julian Assange
‘First, it was Julian #Assange, now another truth-teller, Craig Murray, is a political prisoner. All solidarity with Craig and his family and, remember, you have been warned – again.’
‘Assange and Murray are the canaries in the coal mine for the growing crackdown on investigative journalism and on efforts to hold executive power to account. There is, of course, ever less of that being done by the corporate media, which may explain why corporate outlets appear not only relaxed about the mounting political and legal climate against free speech and transparency but have been all but cheering it on.’
Journalist Craig Murray has now begun his eight months prison sentence– a vengeful, cruel and vindictive sentence which followed a strikingly odd judicial process.
It represents yet another attack on independent journalism. The UK Supreme Court rejected hearing his appeal and he surrendered to custody on Sunday. His defense campaign now reports that he has been sent to Saughton prison. (Details on writing to him at end). This despite his extremely poor state of health which makes prison a very dangerous place indeed for him.
The JADC sends greetings and solidarity to Craig, his wife Nadira and children. We have already met to discuss how to help the campaign for Craig and offer practical and political support to his struggle. Craig has been a staunch supporter of the fight to prevent political prisoner Julian Assange being extradited to the torture-practising US prison and court system. Most importantly Craig has been one of the few journalists who have fearlessly and honestly reported on the Assange case – himself now into his third year in Belmarsh prison for the crime of exposing imperialist war crimes. Craig’s reporting from the extradition hearing became required reading and exposed the injustice of the legal process.
As the Craig Murray Justice campaign has said: ‘Craig Murray to be first person incarcerated in the UK over media contempt case in 50 years, setting dangerous legal precedent for freedom of speech and equality before the law.’ The charges arise from his alleged ‘jigsaw’ identification of witnesses in his reporting of the Alex Salmond case, a case in which Salmond was acquitted by a jury. Craig Murray has said: “ I go to gaol with a clean conscience after a Kafkaesque trial. I genuinely do not know who I am supposed to have identified or which phrases I published are said to have identified them in combination with what other information in the public domain…I carefully protect the identities of accusers in my reports.”
Craig’s passionate advocacy in support of those who expose war crimes and serious governmental violations of human rights and international law has certainly made him a figure of ruling class hatred. . He rightly says: “I believe this is actually the state’s long-sought revenge for my whistleblowing on security service collusion with torture and my long-term collaboration with Wikileaks and other whistleblowers. Unfortunately, important free speech issues are collateral damage.’
Indeed they are. Lady Dorrian, judge in Murray’s case, draws a clear distinction between independent media and so-called mainstream press. The latter, it says are regulated and have codes of practice and are afforded legal protections. But independent journalists, like Craig, are to be afforded no such protections. We have seen the same distinction made in the case of Julian Assange where much effort has been put into arguing that he is not a ‘real journalist.’ If honestly stated, the ruling should have said approved media hide our lies and crimes whilst dangerous independent journalists often expose them and that cannot be tolerated.
We will continue to report on ways in which Craig Murray’s fight can be supported. In the meantime here are references to further articles on the case:
Craig Murray Justice campaign
For now, please send all letters to Craig to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them to him asap. COVID and other circumstances mean this is the most straightforward way to go about this for now.
📢PRESS RELEASE: Craig Murray to be first person incarcerated in the UK over media contempt case in 50 years, setting dangerous legal precedent for freedom of speech and equality before the law.
— Craig Murray Justice campaign (@cmurrayjustice) July 29, 2021