Globe, Human Rights, Politiks, United Kingdom

Julian Assange, save the messenger, save the free speech

On Monday, February 24, 2020, the trial on the extradition of the Australian journalist to the United States began. There were five days in which it was confirmed that this is one of the most unfair trial that has taken place in a democratic country in decades. On the 18th of May, an event in London will say: “No more!”, and will stand up for Assange.

 

ulian Assange. OperationPaperStorm Photo Flickr bit.ly/2KDKhHv

Nathan Raia

 

During the five days in which this first part of the trial took place, it was clear that many of Julian Assange’s rights were not protected nor respected.

The judge showed no mercy and compassion for him, in court he was separated from his lawyer by a thick glass wall; he was prevented from communicating with them; he was also handcuffed 11 times and he was stripped naked twice.

Moreover, guards confiscated his case file, which he was reading, when he returned to prison and he was put in five different cells. (For daily reports on the trial see ex-diplomat Craig Murray’s website).

But those days at Woolwich Crown Court were not the only days where the injustice against the founder of WikiLeaks  has been evident. It has been like this since 2010, when the organization began to publish and leak cables, exposing war crimes, starting with images of US helicopters attacking innocent civilians in Baghdad.

Shortly after WikiLeaks  released more than 90,000 secret documents related to US military operations in Afghanistan and almost 400,000 reports on the US military campaign in Iraq.

With the publication of these secret American military and diplomatic documents Assange determined his fate, and from then on a persecution began where defamation and lies and the violation of his human rights have been constantly present.

The United States, Ecuador and the United Kingdom have been the countries where this injustice against Assange has been practiced without any mercy.

It is the first time that a journalist is victim of such abuse for carrying out his duties, but it is also the first time in the United States’ history that a journalist is under trial for the violation of the Espionage Act. A law enacted in 1917 to prosecute spies who leaked secrets to the enemy,.

However not even the US is accusing him of having done this.

James Lewis, who is the US prosecutor, is arguing that WikiLeaks, by publishing secret files, put in danger sources and informants, who spoke to US troops or diplomats, in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, China and Iran. Those serious allegations have been maintained for at least the past ten years, but they have never shown tangible evidence that such harm was ever caused to sources and informants.

In the meantime in the US, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden with Representative Ro Khanna have presented to the Congress a reform of the Espionage Act. This reform aims to protect journalists and ensure whistleblowers can effectively report any abuse to the Congress. If this should pass, it might increase the chance of Assange’s freedom.

As Weyden declared to the press: “The Espionage Act currently provides sweeping powers for a rogue attorney general like Bill Barr or an unscrupulous president like Donald Trump to target journalists and whistleblowers who reveal information they’d rather keep secret. This bill ensures only personnel with security clearances can be prosecuted for improperly revealing classified information.”

The truth is that so far there seems to be no hope for Julian Assange.

With his rights violated and with a system and governments determined to condemn him, Assange faces a serious possibility of being extradited to the United States where he could be subjected to torture and imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, Assange’s health is deteriorating, his parents do not stop asking to end this injustice, and Assange’s followers and everyone with a sense of justice for freedom of information, is demanding that he not be extradited.

Various acts and actions have been carried out and are continuing. One of them is “Shutdown the show trial”, which will take place in London and it will be hosted by Simpson Media uk Simpson Twitter & YouTube, Free Julian Assange Committee Switzerland, Free Chealsea Manning, Brisbane Assange Action Queensland and Free Assange.

The organisers are calling for a global movement in defence of Assange, saying that those who don’t want Julian Assange to die have to “stand up and say ‘No more!’” pointing to the fact that if he is extradited he will spend the rest of his life in a US prison.

And his lawyer has warned that there is a risk of suicide if Assange is transferred to the US.

As already made clear by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who visited Assange in Belmarsh, accompanied by two medical experts: “Mr Assange showed all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.” Moreover, Melzer warned, “Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life”.

“Shutdown the show trial”. Date and place: Monday, 18th of May 2020, from 6 pm. until 11.55 pm. at HM Belmarsh Prison, London, United Kingdom. For further information, visit the Facebook event page.

(Photos: Pixabay)

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