Supporters of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
Form Human Chain around UK Parliament
(October 9, 2022) — The WikiLeaks founder is wanted by the US for allegedly violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified files in 2010 related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Supporters in London held life-size cut-outs of Assange, along with posters reading ‘Journalism is not a crime’ and ‘prosecute war crimes, not Assange.’
Around a thousand people formed a human chain around the UK parliament in London on Saturday, demanding the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The Australian-born publisher has been held in a high-security London prison since 2019, and is currently appealing against a decision to extradite him to the United States.
He is wanted by US authorities to face trial for allegedly violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified military and diplomatic files in 2010, related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 51-year-old could face decades in jail if found guilty.
His case has become a cause célèbre for media freedom and his supporters accuse Washington of trying to muzzle reporting of legitimate security concerns.
Supporters in London held life-sized cut-outs of Assange, along with posters reading “Free Assange, end extradition”, “journalism is not a crime” and “prosecute war crimes, not Assange”.
\The chain formed outside the front of the Houses of Parliament, spanned the River Thames over Westminster Bridge before winding itself along the river opposite the historic building.
Another protest took place in Zagreb, Croatia.
Assange Case Raises Media Freedom Concerns
Says UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet
• Julian Assange, who has been held in London since 2019, has filed an appeal against his extradition to the US. He is wanted to face trial in the US on espionage charges
• ‘The potential extradition and prosecution of Mr. Assange raises concerns relating to media freedom … and on the activities of whistle-blowers,’ said Bachelet
LONDON (August 28, 2022) — UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Saturday that the potential extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange raised concerns for media freedom and could have a “chilling effect” on investigative journalism.
Assange, who has been held in a high-security London prison since 2019, has filed an appeal against his extradition from Britain to the United States.
The Australian is wanted to face trial for allegedly violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified US military and diplomatic files in 2010, related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 51-year-old could face decades in jail if found guilty, but supporters portray him as a martyr to press freedom after he was taken into British custody following nearly seven years inside Ecuador’s embassy in London.
“I am aware of health issues which Mr. Assange has suffered during his time in detention, and remain concerned for his physical and mental well-being,” Bachelet said in a statement after meeting with the WikiLeaks founder’s wife and lawyers on Thursday.
“The potential extradition and prosecution of Mr. Assange raises concerns relating to media freedom and a possible chilling effect on investigative journalism and on the activities of whistle-blowers.
“In these circumstances, I would like to emphasise the importance of ensuring respect of Mr. Assange’s human rights, in particular the right to a fair trial and due process guarantees in this case.
“My office will continue to closely follow Mr. Assange’s case.”
Bachelet’s term as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights finishes on Wednesday, after four years in the post.
The former Chilean president’s successor has not yet been appointed.
The US-based Assange Defence Committee coalition fighting to free the former computer hacker said the legal battle over his extradition was heating up on multiple fronts.
“Assange’s attorneys stressed the legal and human rights implications of the case, while Stella Assange updated Bachelet on the impact years of confinement have had on Julian’s health and family,” the statement said.
The Assange case has become a cause célèbre for media freedom and his supporters accuse Washington of trying to muzzle reporting of legitimate security concerns.
Journalist John Pilger Says WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange ‘Will Die’ If Extradited to US
• The London-based journalist also said that the future of journalism is at stake if Assange loses his extradition fight
• New Australian PM Anthony Albanese, despite being a signatory of the ‘Bring Julian Assange Home’ campaign, is unlikely to ‘deviate from’ the US’ stance
(July 9, 2022) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, already ailing following a decade-long struggle for freedom, faces almost certain death if he is sent to a “penal hell hole” upon extradition to the United States, one of his staunchest supporters has said.
John Pilger, the award-winning Australian filmmaker and journalist who has been a close confidante of Assange since 2010, said defeat for the 51-year-old in his battle in British courts against extradition could have far-reaching consequences for journalism.
“I don’t think there is any doubt in my mind… that if Julian goes to the United States, and is effectively dropped in a penal hell hole, that will be the end of him literally, he will die,” Pilger said in an interview on Talking Post with chief news editor Yonden Lhatoo.
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