Report by Angie
Assange – We Stand in Solidarity!
The Committee to Defend Julian Assange, a grassroots solidarity group in support of the founder of Wikileaks, gathered for a Christmas vigil outside HMP Belmarsh in south London on Saturday 18.12.21. This will be the third Christmas that Mr Assange has been imprisoned on remand in Belmarsh prison. They sang adapted carols, played musical instruments and chanted ‘No extradition’ and ‘Free Julian Assange’!
https://wiseupaction.info Twitter: @JA_Defence
Standing outside the prison’s entrance, the Committee’s organiser, Emmy Butlin, said, ‘We didn’t build these walls to keep publishers inside imprisoned… the content of Wikileaks has provided enlightenment and freedom to thousands of people…a great number of them torture victims.. This is the work of Wikileaks…We stand in solidarity, pure and simple, he’s one of us’
Speech by Emmy Butlin, Committee to Defend Julian Assange:
The London Activism Representative from Amnesty International, Alexis Hatto, addressed the crowd, saying, ‘you don’t need to be an expert to recognise how terrible our government’s treatment of Julian has been’. Commenting on the recent success of the US appeal to extradite Mr Assange announced on the 10th December, International Human Rights Day, he quoted Amnesty International’s position, calling it ‘a travesty of justice…a real risk of serious human rights violations [and] a grave risk to press freedom’.
Speech by London Activism Representative of Amnesty International, Alexis Hatto speech:
Messages of support were received from across the country including John McDonnell MP and Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur for Torture.
John McDonnell described Mr. Assange’s imprisonment in HMP Belmarsh for another Christmas ‘a disgrace….It is appalling that an innocent man continues to be incarcerated when he should be being honoured for the courageous whistleblowing journalist he is. And he warned, ‘What has been done to Julian will be looked upon historically as one of the gravest injustices perpetrated by our legal and political system over the last century’.
Angie from The Committee to Defend Julian Assange reads a message of solidarity from John McDonnell: https://youtu.be/QgBazGiDAig
Dr Deepa Govindarajan Driver, UCU trade unionist and university lecturer, read a statement of support from Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur for Torture. He likened Mr Assange’s imprisonment to the Christmas story: ‘a story of persecution, one where King Herod tried to silence the coming truth-teller by ordering that all male infants be murdered in Bethlehem, an inconvenient truth-teller who eventually ended up being crucified, while the real criminal Barrabas was granted impunity’. He called upon the world to ‘not make the same mistake but let’s remind people in the street that X-mas is about truth, about courage and about justice’. He warned people ’not fall into the trap of hate and resentment. Do not fight and condemn the blind and deaf, but light a candle for them that will open their eyes and sing a song that will open their ears and hearts!’
Dr Deepa Govindarajan Driver introduces message of support from Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur for Torture:
Mr Assange suffered a mini stroke on October 27th, the first day of the the High Court appeal hearing, while he was attending on line from Belmarsh Prison. His legal team has until the 23rd December to appeal the High Court decision to extradite him to the US.
More Messages of support
From Jan Jirat, Journalist, Geneva, Switzerland
“After the judgement there is new energy and pressure behind demand of humanitarian visa. especially in Geneva with its global role. what is needed now is more pressure and attention. I am hopeful that we can achieve something when we all work together”
Message from Margaret Ratner Kunstler
‘Across the ocean more and more people are coming together to support you. The voice of truth tellers will grow loud enough to free the Truth Teller.‘
Message from Prof Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur for Torture
‘I salute you and your courage and solidarity! Let us remember that the X-mas tale is a story of persecution, one where King Herod tried to silence the coming truth-teller by ordering that all male infants be murdered in Bethlehem, an inconvenient truth-teller who eventually ended up being crucified by his own people, while the real criminal Barrabas was granted impunity. Today, 2000 years later, let’s not make the same mistake, but let’s remind people in the street that X-mas is about truth, about courage and about justice. But first and foremost, X-mas is about love and forgiveness – so despite all the injustice and persecution, let us not fall into the trap of hate and resentment. Do not fight and condemn the blind and deaf, but light a candle for them that will open their eyes and sing a song that will open their ears and hearts! Merry X-mas!‘
More videos and photos
With Many Thanks to Joe Brack from EF Press and Antonia Omirou.