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Hearing Coverage Press Release

U.S. continues its pursuit of Julian Assange

April 16, 2024Invited by the U.K.’s High Court to give assurances that would address those grounds of appeal which have been found to have “real prospect of success”, the U.S. has today issued a diplomatic note in which it gives a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment, and a standard assurance in relation to the death penalty.

On the matter of Julian Assange’s First Amendment rights, which the prosecutor asserted he does not enjoy because he is not a U.S. citizen, the U.S. has said that could “seek to raise” them, i.e. argue that the rights should not be disallowed.

Julian’s wife, Stella Assange said:

“The United States has issued a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment, and a standard assurance in relation to the death penalty. It makes no undertaking to withdraw the prosecution’s previous assertion that Julian has no First Amendment rights because he is not a U.S citizen. Instead, the US has limited itself to blatant weasel words claiming that Julian can “seek to raise” the First Amendment if extradited. The diplomatic note does nothing to relieve our family’s extreme distress about his future — his grim expectation of spending the rest of his life in isolation in US prison for publishing award-winning journalism. The Biden Administration must drop this dangerous prosecution before it is too late.”

Media organizations and their representatives have criticized the U.S. decision to continue its pursuit of Julian Assange and called on President Biden to end the prosecution.

As previously announced a hearing will be held on May 20, 2024 to decide whether these U.S. “assurances” are sufficient and to give a final ruling on permission to appeal.

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Press Release

Julian Assange’s half a decade in prison

April 11, 2024 — As of today, the award-winning journalist and publisher Julian Assange has been incarcerated in UK’s maximum security Belmarsh prison for five years, on no conviction and for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

Marking the occasion, Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange has called on US President Joe Biden, who suggested the US is “considering” dropping the case, to “do the right thing” and “drop the charges”. At the same time, Australian PM Anthony Albanese has noted the Biden comment, calling it an “encouraging statement”.

The anniversary was marked by supporters and free press organizations, which reiterated their calls for Julian Assange to be freed immediately.

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Press Release

US ‘considering’ dropping prosecution of Julian Assange, Joe Biden says

April 10, 2024 — Ahead of the fifth anniversary of Julian Assange’s incarceration in London’s Belmarsh prison, US President Joe Biden said the US is “considering” dropping the case.

When asked by reporters at the White House whether he had a response to Australia’s request – which in February this year passed a resolution, backed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling for Mr Assange’s release, Mr Biden replied: “We’re considering it.”

The statement comes two weeks after UK High Court decided it could grant Julian Assange limited permission to appeal his extradition, but only if the US government fails to offer adequate “assurances”.

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Hearing Coverage Press Release

Julian Assange appeal partially allowed, pending U.S. ‘assurances’

Supporters outside the courtroom awaiting Assange’s appeal decision (Source)

March 26, 2024 — The UK High Court has issued a judgment that could grant Julian Assange limited permission to appeal his extradition to the United States but first gives the U.S. government an opportunity to give “assurances” to potentially avoid an appeal.

The court found that Assange has a “real prospect of success” on 3 of the 9 grounds of appeal:

  • Ground iv) that Extradition is incompatible with article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of expression); “If (as might be the case) Mr Assange is not permitted to rely on the First Amendment then it is arguable that his extradition would be incompatible with article 10 of the Convention.”
  • Ground v) If extradited, Mr Assange might be prejudiced at his trial by reason of his nationality, as “foreign nationals are not entitled to protections under the First Amendment”.
  • Ground ix) Extradition is barred by inadequate specialty/death penalty protection: “The Secretary of State agrees that, if he is extradited, Mr Assange could be charged with offences that carry the death penalty and that there is nothing then to prevent the death penalty from being imposed.”

The ruling gives the U.S. three weeks to provide assurances that would address these grounds. If the U.S. declines to do so, the court will grant Assange right to appeal on those grounds. If, as is expected, assurances are given, there will be a hearing on May 20, 2024, to decide if the assurances are sufficient and to give a final ruling on permission to appeal.

Julian’s wife Stella Assange spoke outside the court following the announcement:

The court’s decision to avoid extradition for now was welcomed by press freedom organizations and journalistic unions, which reiterated their calls for the U.S. to drop the charges.

Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said:

‘The UK High Court’s ruling presents the U.S. government with another opportunity to do what it should have done long ago—drop the Espionage Act charges. Prosecuting Assange for the publication of classified information would have profound implications for press freedom, because publishing classified information is what journalists and news organizations often need to do in order to expose wrongdoing by government. It’s long past time for the U.S. Justice Department to abandon the Espionage Act charges and resolve this case.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:

“A temporary reprieve is clearly preferable to an extradition that would have taken place in the coming days. However, the conditionality around the grounds of appeal, which are contingent on the examination of US government assurances that he will not face the death penalty and has the right to free speech, mean the risks to Assange and press freedom remain stark.

“Assange’s prosecution by the US is for activities that are daily work for investigative journalists – finding sources with evidence of criminality and helping them to get their stories out into the world. If Assange is prosecuted, free expression the world over will be damaged.”

Whistleblower and source protection group WHISPeR urged the British court not to trust U.S. assurances:

We regret that the Court declined to properly consider the political nature of this prosecution under what is a textbook case of a political crime, and continues to take a blinkered approach on the remaining questions it has left open for the May 20th hearing. We again strongly urge the High Court to apply the greatest possible skepticism of U.S. assurances. The U.S. government has certainly not earned a presumption of credibility on these issues.

As attorneys who have represented several defendants under Espionage charges in media leak cases, we can speak to these issues from direct experience. Our clients have been denied both the right to present a First Amendment defense and the supposedly humane prison conditions promised by the Department of Justice.

The U.S. government simply cannot make any meaningful assurance that any defendant can rely on First Amendment protections under an Espionage Act prosecution, much less a foreign citizen. The legal question is at best unresolved by U.S. courts, and the precedent is ominous. The Pentagon Papers case, the fullest test of the Espionage Act against the First Amendment to date, resulted in a Supreme Court opinion that pointedly left open the possibility that the U.S. government could punish the publication of government documents.  Any assurance that Assange would be allowed to mount a meaningful First Amendment defense would be diametrically opposed to the U.S. Justice Department’s own position in previous media leak cases: that the Espionage Act does not allow a jury to even consider a First Amendment defense. In Thomas Drake’s case, the government sought to ban the use of words like “whistleblowing” in front of a jury. In prosecuting Daniel Hale, the government argued that his appeals to the First Amendment were merely “academic musings,” and “interesting thought exercises, but irrelevant to the case at hand”.

Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), said:

“We are glad Julian Assange is not getting extradited today. But this legal battle is far from over, and the threat to journalists and the news media from the Espionage Act charges against Assange remains. Assange’s conviction in American courts would create a dangerous precedent that the U.S. government can and will use against reporters of all stripes who expose its wrongdoing or embarrass it. The Biden administration should take the opportunity to drop this dangerous case once and for all.”

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said,

“We are glad that the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States will be delayed. His prosecution in the U.S. under the Espionage Act would have disastrous implications for press freedom. It is time that the U.S. Justice Department put an end to all these court proceedings and dropped its dogged pursuit of the WikiLeaks founder.”

PEN International and English PEN cosigned a statement,

Journalists and publishers sometimes risk their lives to uncover truths that powerful entities seek to conceal. By recognising that the UK and the US have not provided sufficient assurances, the High Court has proven that the concerns and fears expressed by Assange, his family and his legal team are well-founded.

Yet the court rejected some of Assange’s arguments, including that his extradition was political. We remain deeply concerned by the fact that the US was granted more time to make diplomatic assurances – despite Assange facing the risk of serious human rights violations if extradited to the US – and of the dangerous prospect of Assange’s extradition going ahead.

Once again, we urge the US authorities to drop all charges against Assange and withdraw their extradition request. We further call on the UK authorities to refrain from extraditing Assange, to release him from Belmarsh prison immediately, and to ensure he is reunited with his family.

We stand unwaveringly alongside Assange and fellow publishers and journalists around the world who courageously defend truth and justice in the face of adversity.

Simon Crowther, Legal Adviser at Amnesty International, said:

“The High Court’s decision today leaves in limbo Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom — but the fight continues. The US lawyers now have a second opportunity to make diplomatic assurances which the court will consider in May. Instead of allowing this protracted legal process to continue, the US should drop all charges against Assange.

“The UK remains intent on extraditing Assange despite the grave risk that he will be subjected to torture or ill-treatment in the US. While the US has allegedly assured the UK that it will not violate Assange’s rights, we know from past cases that such ‘guarantees’ are deeply flawed — and the diplomatic assurances so far in the Assange case are riddled with loopholes.

“Unfortunately the court rejected some of Assange’s arguments, notably that the extradition was political. The court paused proceedings on the other grounds so that the US can make diplomatic assurances which it will then reconsider.

“The US must stop its politically motivated prosecution of Assange, which puts Assange and media freedom at risk worldwide. In trying to imprison him, the US is sending an unambiguous warning to publishers and journalists everywhere that they too could be targeted and that it is not safe for them to receive and publish classified material — even if doing so is in the public interest.”

Chip Gibbons, Defending Rights & Dissent Policy Director, said:

We are glad Assange will have another opportunity, however narrow, to appeal his extradition. We share the UK Court’s concern over comments from US prosecutors that Assange may be denied First Amendment protections on the basis of his nationality. This is the press freedom case of the 21st century and a verdict against Assange will have an impact on press freedom broadly. The idea of putting him on trial for newsgathering and then saying he can’t rely on the First Amendment is an unacceptable prospect.

We are nonetheless disturbed that the UK courts have failed to recognize this is a case about press freedom and political expression, as well as granting the US government yet another chance to amend its flawed, defective extradition request.

Assange’s persecution for his journalistic activities is not only an affront to our First Amendment, it is a clear violation of international human rights law. It constitutes an attempt to extradite an individual for a purely political offense, something that should be impermissible. The extradition should be rejected on these bases, yet Assange has been refused an appeal on these grounds.

The ball is, yet again, in the Biden Administration’s court. They should uphold the First Amendment by dropping the charges. As the party driving the extradition hearings, they can at the very least walk away from the lengthy legal processes in the UK, ending this once and for all.

We are at a critical stage in the Assange case and we will be escalating our calls for the Biden Administration to uphold the First Amendment and defend global press freedom by dropping this Trump-era prosecution of a journalist for journalistic activities.

Karen Percy, media federal president of the leading Australian journalism union Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, said,

Julian Assange’s bid to overturn the extradition order is still alive but his legal limbo continues.

We remain concerned that there is still no certainty an appeal against his extradition will proceed, and even if it goes ahead that only a small number of grounds of appeal are possible.

Julian Assange needs more than assurances from the US about how he will be treated. The only clear path to freedom is for the US to drop the charges, end its prosecution and allow him to be released from jail.

Next month will mark five years of detention in Belmarsh Prison, where his health and mental wellbeing has worsened recently.

Media freedom continues to be imperilled the longer this case drags on.

The stories published by WikiLeaks and other outlets more than a decade ago were clearly in the public interest. The ongoing prosecution is politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.

If the US government can extradite a citizen of another country, from anywhere in the world for publishing factual information it sets a dangerous precedent that will have a profoundly chilling effect on investigative journalism, discouraging journalists and whistleblowers from exposing vital information in the public interest.

We call on the Australian government to keep up the pressure on the US to drop the charges so Julian Assange can resume life as a free man.”


Expert panel reacts to High Court announcement

Assange Appeal Decision Reaction

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Press Release

German chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks out against the extradition of Julian Assange

March 4, 2024 — Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, has called on British judges to rule against the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.

“I’m of the opinion that it would be good if the British courts granted him the necessary protection, since he must indeed face persecution in the US given the fact that he gave away American state secrets.”

The statement has come two weeks after 75 German MPs published an open letter urging the US to abandon the “show trial” and suggesting that he be tried before the European Court of Human Rights instead.

The Chancellor’s comments were since welcomed by The German Association of Journalists (DJV). “The fate of Julian Assange has finally arrived at the top of the government’s agenda,” said DJV federal chairman Mika Beuster.

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Past Events Video Series

Start with the Truth: So, what now?

March 2, 2024 — Assange Defense and Stella Assange present a new monthly webinar series, “Start with the Truth.”

The topic for March is, “So, what now?”, a recap of Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing in the UK and a look at what’s next.

This month’s panelists are Marjorie Cohn, a Professor of Law Emerita and past president of the National Lawyers Guild, Kevin Gosztola, journalist and author of “Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange”, and Stephen Rohde, a constitutional scholar, lecturer, and writer.

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Press Release

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression: Time to end prosecution of Julian Assange

March 1, 2024 — UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, issued a statement expressing concern that the possible extradition and imminent prosecution in the United States of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could have serious implications for freedom of expression.

“Gathering, reporting and disseminating information, including national security information when it is in the public interest, is a legitimate exercise of journalism and should not be treated as a crime.”

She noted that if extradited, Julian Assange would be the first publisher to be prosecuted in the US under the Espionage Act.

“It would set a dangerous precedent that could have a chilling effect on investigative journalism in the United States and possibly elsewhere in the world.”

The expert urged the UK authorities not to extradite Assange and the US Government to drop the charges.

“I call on the United States and the United Kingdom, which profess to uphold the right to freedom of expression, to uphold these international standards in the case of Julian Assange.”

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Press Release

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture urges UK government to halt imminent extradition of Julian Assange

February 6, 2024 — The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Alice Jill Edwards, today urged the Government of the United Kingdom to halt the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States of America.

She called on British authorities to consider Julian Assange’s appeal based on substantial fears that, if extradited, he would be at risk of treatment amounting to torture or other forms of ill-treatment or punishment.

“The risk of being placed in prolonged solitary confinement, despite his precarious mental health status, and to receive a potentially disproportionate sentence raises questions as to whether Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States would be compatible with the United Kingdom’s international human rights obligations, particularly under article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as respective articles 3 of the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

She stressed that diplomatic assurance provided by the US, on the basis of which Britain’s High Court ruled to approve the United States’ appeal and sent the case back down to the Magistrate’s level for the extradition to be ordered, are not a sufficient guarantee to protect Mr. Assange against such risks.

“I call on the Government of the United Kingdom to carefully review Mr. Assange’s extradition order with a view to ensuring full compliance with the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of refoulement to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to take all the necessary measures to safeguard Mr. Assange’s physical and mental health.”

Read the whole letter here.

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Press Release

Australian parliamentarians send letter to UK Home Secretary James Cleverly

In the light of the approaching pivotal UK court hearings for Julian Assange on February 20 and 21, conveners of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group have written to UK Home Secretary James Cleverly asking him to “undertake an urgent, thorough and independent assessment of the risks to Mr Assange’s health and welfare in the event he is extradited to the United States.”

The signatories to the letter remind the Secretary of the UK Supreme Court decision which finds “that courts in the United Kingdom cannot just rely on third party assurances by foreign governments but rather are required to make independent assessments of the risk of persecution to individuals before any order is made removing them from the UK.”

This reasoning clearly has direct relevance to the extradition proceedings involving Julian Assange and the joint decision of Lord Justices Burnett and Holroyde in USA v Assange [2021] EWHC 3313 (Admin). In that case their Lordships expressly relied on the “assurances” of the United States as to Mr Assange’s safety and welfare should he be extradited to the United States for imprisonment and trial. These assurances were not tested, nor was there any evidence of independent assessment as to the basis on which they could be given and relied upon.

They stress that “both the Australian Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have stated publicly that Mr Assange’s case has gone on for too long. This is a position with which we wholeheartedly concur.”

The letter is signed by MPs Andrew Wilkie, Bridget Archer, Josh Wilson and David Shoebridge.

Read the letter here.

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Press Release

Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors Allowed To Proceed

December 19, 2023 — Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York ruled that four American attorneys and journalists, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was in the Ecuador Embassy in London, may sue the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for its role in the alleged copying of the contents of their electronic devices.

Rejecting the arguments of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea, who neither confirmed nor denied that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant at the first hearing in November, the federal judge has now ruled that the plaintiffs are allowed to proceed with the lawsuit.

Kevin Gosztola reports that a prior decision in Amnesty v. Clapper, which challenged the “legality of the bulk telephone metadata collection program” operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), helped Koeltl determine that the allegedly targeted Americans had standing to sue the CIA.

The U.S. government will likely appeal the decision.

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Hearing Coverage Press Release

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal to be held in UK High Court 20-21 February 2024

December 19, 2023 — The UK High Court has confirmed that a public hearing will take place on 20-21 February 2024. The two-day hearing may be the final chance for Julian Assange to prevent his extradition to the United States. If extradited, Assange faces a sentence of 175 years for exposing war crimes committed by the United States in the Afghan and Iraq wars.

Immediately after the court date was announced, protestors responded by calling for a mass protest at the court on the days of the hearing at 8:30am. They welcome all those who support press freedom to join them in London and around the world.

The upcoming public hearing will be held before a panel of two judges who will review an earlier High Court decision taken by a single judge on 6 June 2023 which refused Mr Assange permission to appeal.

This decisive stage in Mr Assange’s appeals will determine one of two outcomes: whether Mr. Assange will have further opportunities to argue his case before the domestic (UK) courts, or whether he will have exhausted all appeals without a possibility for further appeal in the UK and thus enter the process of extradition. An application before the European Court of Human Rights remains a possibility.

With the myriad of evidence that has come to light since the original hearing in 2019, such as the violation of legal privilege and reports that senior US officials were involved in formulating assassination plots against my husband, there is no denying that a fair trial, let alone Julian’s safety on US soil, is an impossibility were he to be extradited. The persecution of this innocent journalist and publisher must end.

Stella Assange

Assange’s campaign for freedom is supported by Amnesty International, the National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and virtually every civil rights, press freedom, and journalists’ union in the world. More than 60 Australian federal politicians have called on the US to drop the prosecution. In the United States, the Congressional representatives calling for the case to be dropped grows steadily, currently H. Res 934 sponsored by Paul Gosar is gathering signatures from all sides of politics.

For more information about the court hearing and subsequent protest, scheduled to commence at 8.30am, and how to participate, please visit freeassange.org

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Past Events Press Release

The Belmarsh Tribunal returns to Washington D.C.

December 9, 2023 — As the extradition case against Julian Assange is entering its final phase, the Belmarsh Tribunal returns to Washington D.C. Courage Foundation is proud to partner with Progressive International and other media and media freedom organizations to bear witness to the Biden administration’s crackdown on free speech and the First Amendment and demand freedom for Julian Assange. The fourth edition of The Belmarsh Tribunal will take place on December 9 at the National Press Club with the participation of the world’s leading journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders.

This Tribunal will hear testimonies from Marjorie Cohn, professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, Michael Sontheimer, journalist and historian (formerly Der Spiegel), Mark Feldstein, investigative correspondent and Chair of Journalism at the University of Maryland, Trevor Timm, co-founder of Freedom of the Press Foundation, John Kiriakou, former CIA intelligence officer, Rebecca Vincent, Reporters Without Borders, Ewen MacAskill, journalist and intelligence correspondent (formerly Guardian), Ben Wizner, lawyer and civil liberties advocate with the ACLU, Maja Sever, president of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Ece Temelkuran, author and journalist, Lina Attalah, Co-founder and Chief Editor of Mada Masr, 2020 Knight International Journalism Award recipient, Sevim Dagdelen, Member of the German Bundestag, Abby Martin, journalist.

The proceedings will be chaired by journalists Amy Goodman and Ryan Grim.

From Presidents and Prime Ministers to Nobel Peace Prize winners, the international community is crying out against the injustice of Assange’s prosecution — and its implication for press freedom worldwide. Join them: Register here to attend the Tribunal in person or follow the proceedings online.

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Press Release

First Hearing in the Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors

November 16, 2023 — A U.S. court considered a lawsuit against the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo for their alleged role in spying on American attorneys and journalists who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In August 2022, four Americans — lawyers Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, journalist John Goetz and Charles Glass sued the CIA and Pompeo. The lawsuit they brought alleges that as visitors Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to employees of a Spanish company called UC Global, which was contracted to provide security for the Ecuador embassy. Furthermore, UC Global “copied the information stored on the devices” and shared the information with the CIA. The agency even had access to live video and audio feeds from cameras in the embassy.

Now, Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York refused to accept Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea position who neither confirmed nor denied that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant. He also invited attorneys for the Americans to update the lawsuit so that claims of privacy violations explicitly dealt with the government’s lack of a warrant.

In his report about the hearing, journalist Kevin Gosztola notes that “the government effectively asserted in a U.S. courtroom that Americans cease to have constitutional privacy protections from U.S. government intrusion when they travel abroad.”

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Press Release

PEN Norway awards Julian Assange the Ossietzky Prize for 2023

November 15, 2023 — Julian Assange is awarded PEN Norway’s Ossietzky Prize for 2023 in recognition of his critical journalism and his commitment to exposing the abuse of power and war crimes.

Julian Assange’s wife and lawyer Stella Assange received the award on his behalf in a ceremony in Oslo, where she spoke alongside Jørgen Watne Frydnes, PEN Norway General Secretary, Dag Larsen, head of Norwegian PEN’s committee for imprisoned writers, Ann-Magrit Austenå, Norsk PEN’s chairman, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, writer and former Guantanamo prisoner, and Mads Andenæs, member of Norsk PEN’s Assange committee.

The jury’s justification reads:

“Julian Assange has, both as a publisher and editor, been instrumental in revealing severe war crimes committed by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the unlawful imprisonment and abuse of detainees at Guantanamo.

(…)

“Julian Assange’s efforts for the right to information have come at a high personal cost. For the last five years he has been imprisoned in the British high-security prison Belmarsh, with limited contact with his family and inadequate communication with his lawyers. His health has deteriorated significantly during his time in detention.

“The treatment that Julian Assange has been and is being subjected to can amount to violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibit any form of torture and inhuman treatment.

(…)

“Citizens’ right to information is a prerequisite for democracy. Without a democracy based on informed citizens, abuse of power and violations of the law cannot be corrected and changed. Julian Assange has defended the core of democracy. Like several predecessors, Julian Assange has made public essential documents in this sensitive area, a role that is often criticized but will be recognized as highly significant when history is to be written.”

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Press Release

16 Congressmembers urge AG Garland to drop the charges against Julian Assange

November 8, 2023 — 16 members of the US Congress have written to president Joe Biden urging him to drop its extradition attempts against Julian Assange and halt any prosecutorial proceedings immediately.

The signatories emphasized their commitment to the principles of free speech and freedom of the press and underlined that the prosecution of Julian Assange significantly undermines them.

“It is the duty of journalists to seek out sources, including documentary evidence, in order to report to the public on the activities of the government”

“The United States must not pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalising common journalistic practices and thus chilling the work of the free press. We urge you to ensure that this case be brought to a close in as timely a manner as possible.”

The group also warned that continuing the pursuit of Assange risks America’s bilateral relationship with Australia.

Read the full letter here:

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Press Release

Where the 2024 U.S. presidential candidates stand on press freedom and Assange

September 17, 2023 — The New York Times has published the results of its 2024 Executive Power Survey in which Presidential Candidates explain their position on press freedom and specifically on the case of Julian Assange.

The candidates were asked if they think the Espionage Act charges against Mr. Assange are constitutional as a legal policy matter and would their administration keep that part of the case against him. In addition, they were asked if they support and would their administration keep the new rules against compulsory production of reporters’ information in leak investigations.

Democratic candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson spoke strongly in favor of press freedom. Kennedy Jr. confirmed that he will drop all charges against Julian Assange, while Williamson said she would drop the Espionage Act counts against him.

Williamson explained that the Espionage Act “violates freedom of speech and press by criminalizing publications without proof that the disclosures were intended to and did cause material harm to the national security of the United States.”

President Joe Biden avoided directly responding regarding the prosecution of Julian Assange, saying “it isn’t appropriate for me to offer an opinion on an ongoing criminal prosecution that is now pending in court.” Instead he stressed his role in codifying new legislation preventing compulsory seizure of journalists’ records “except in limited circumstances” and thus his commitment to press freedom.

Republican candidates Asa Hutchinson and Francis Suarez said they do not plan to interfere with pending prosecutions, nor that it is appropriate to opine on the issue.

Former Vice-President Mike Pence pointed out the need for balance between national security and the freedom of the press. Alluding to the Assange case he said that the First Amendment “does not protect so-called journalists from breaking the laws necessary to maintain our national security and keep Americans safe”.

Other Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump, did not offer an answer to these questions.

There is bipartisan support for protecting the First Amendment right to publish, joining all relevant media freedom organizations and newsrooms around the world.

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Press Release

More than 60 Australian politicians sign a letter in support of Assange; A group of them is coming to U.S.

September 15, 2023 — More than 60 Australian politicians have called on the United States government to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, warning of “a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited. The letter comes ahead of announcements that a contingent of parliamentarians are coming to Washington D.C. this week in hopes of securing Assange’s freedom.

In the letter, the 63 MPs and senators said they were “resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”.

Together with a large and growing number of Australians we believe it is wrong in principle for Mr Assange to be pursued under the Espionage Act (1917), and that it was a political decision to bring the prosecution in the first place. In any case, this matter has dragged on for over a decade and it is wrong for Mr Assange to be further persecuted and denied his liberty when one considers the duration and circumstances of the detention he has already suffered. It serves no purpose, it is unjust, and we say clearly – as friends should always be honest with friends – that the prolonged pursuit of Mr Assange wears away at the substantial foundation of regard and respect
that Australians have for the justice system of the United States of America.

The letter will be taken to Washington D.C. where it will be presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP.

Their trip, scheduled for September 20-21, is intended to raise the profile of Assange’s plight in the weeks leading up to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first prime ministerial trip to Washington at the end of October.

“There is some urgency to this mission because of the imminent possibility of Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, and his deteriorating physical and mental health”, wrote Monique Ryan MP, one of the members of the Australian parliamentary delegation.

This situation is one of politics, not of law. If the extradition request is approved, Australians will witness the deportation of one of our citizens from one AUKUS partner to another – our closest strategic ally – with Assange facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.

Read the whole letter here:

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Press Release

Bring him home: Australians reject Blinken’s comments

A host of Australian politicians have rejected the comments made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that WikiLeaks’ revelations ‘risked very serious harm’ to national security.

Responding to Blinken, MPs Julian Hill, Andrew Wilkie and Bridget Archer have reiterated that the US needs to get Assange out of prison.

Wilkie stressed that “Antony Blinken’s allegation that Julian Assange risked very serious harm to US national security is patent nonsense.”

Mr Blinken would be well aware of the inquiries in both the US and Australia which found that the relevant WikiLeaks disclosures did not result in harm to anyone.

The only deadly behaviour was by US forces … exposed by WikiLeaks, like the Apache crew who gunned down Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists.

Senators David Shoebridge, Nick McKim, Peter Whish-Wilson, Gerard Rennick and Malcolm Roberts addressed the Australian Senate on the motion to bring Julian Assange home.

Prime Minister Antony Albanese told reporters that Blinken’s public comments echoed points made by President Joe Biden’s administration during private discussions with Australian government officials. However, he added that Australia will not give up on the issue.

We remain very firm in our view and our representations to the American government and we will continue to do so.

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Press Release

NUJ: The UK must play no part in supporting Assange’s extradition

July 10, 2023 — Reacting to reports that UK police made “voluntary interview” approaches to British-based journalist, UK’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) issued a statement condemning the move and urging the UK government not to allow Assange’s extradition to the US, or assist with information gathering.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

The UK must play no part in supporting Assange’s extradition and journalists should not have to fear being contacted to aid a case that poses considerable threat to media freedom and to journalists worldwide. Nor should they have to worry about potential consequences of refusing to take part in such interviews, in relation to future travel or work in the US.

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Julian Assange awarded Konrad Wolf prize

Julian Assange is named winner of the 2023 Konrad Wolf prize, awarded by Germany’s Academy of Arts, for his journalistic work which brought to light “illegal state actions, injustice, murder and war crimes”.

The jury said:

Julian Assange’s Wikileaks publicizes information about this – our – reality, so that we as citizens can recognize this reality and take action. ‘We open governments’ so that we know. It is a democratic act. Assange is a worthy laureate, who with his Wikileaks project has exposed government activity, wartime lies, war crimes and cover-ups. His work embodies journalistic awareness-building at its best, and aims to change the world by democratic means – something that is direly needed.

The Akademie der Künste has in recent years repeatedly called for the German government and political leaders in Europe to secure Julian Assange’s release. Julian Assange is being made an example of in order to intimidate and weaken the fourth estate. Journalists, publicists and whistleblowers must be protected, as they perform an essential service to society.

The award ceremony for the Konrad Wolf Prize will take place at the Akademie der Künste on Friday, 20 October 2023.

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Ben & Jerry’s Co-founder Arrested for Blocking DOJ Entrance While Protesting US Government’s Prosecution of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange

Washington, D.C. – Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, and Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK, have been arrested for blocking the entrance to the Department of Justice. Cohen and Evans arrived in Washington, D.C. to protest the US government’s prosecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, who has been indicted on 18 charges for the publication of the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs, which uncovered war crimes, torture, and civilian deaths perpetrated by the US government. 

“It’s outrageous. Julian Assange is nonviolent. He is presumed innocent. And yet somehow or other, he has been imprisoned in solitary confinement for four years. That is torture….He revealed the truth, and for that he is suffering, and that’s we we need to do whatever we can to help him, and to help preserve democracy, which is based on freedom of the press,” Ben Cohen said during the demonstration. “It seems to me that, right now, unless things change, and unless we change them, freedom of the press is going up in smoke.”  

“Why do we have freedom of press? Because there needs to be someone reporting the truth about the violence of power….When you don’t have freedom of the press and no one’s telling the truth, it weaponizes your capacity to feel, to have compassion and empathy. Because if you don’t have the full story and if your heart is being manipulated with lies, then we’re all lost. How can we have peace in the world if we’re just drowning in lies?” Jodie Evans said

Cohen and Evans asked to enter the Department of Justice to discuss their attack on the freedom of press. Security guards denied them access. They proceeded to sit peacefully in the entrance until DC Metropolitan Police arrested them. 

Members of Congress, world leaders, as well as major publishers, have urged the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Julian Assange due to the threat it poses to the First Amendment and press freedom. 

The Obama administration declined to indict Assange because it would risk criminalizing basic journalistic activities that every mainstream media outlet engages in on a regular basis. 

This month, UK High Court Judge Jonathan Swift rejected Assange’s most recent appeal, pushing him ‘dangerously close’ to extradition. The Australian government, where Assange is a citizen, is currently working through diplomatic channels to end Assange’s incarceration, while his legal team continues the appeal process. 

Julian Assange is currently confined in Belmarsh’s maximum-security prison in London and has been since April 2019. If extradited, he will face up to 175 years in prison. 

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View photographs of the action arrest here, here, here, here, and here. An original tweet from Ben is here.

Video footage of the action is available here and the full stream of the event is here. The footage is free to use and courtesy of Robin Bell/Assange Defense.

NOTE for producers: 

00:00 – 05:47 Ben’s opening remarks, burning the 1A, approaching the DOJ guard

05:48 – 16:59 Ben Cohen Q&A with press

17:00 – 19:27 Ben Cohen arrest footage For more information about AssangeDefense.org.

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Press Release

Happy birthday Julian!

July 3rd was Julian Assange’s 52nd birthday, his 5th in Belmarsh prison, and 12th without freedom.

Amnesty International Australia released a statement calling on the Australian government to take all necessary measures to ensure Assange’s safe release. This needs to be “Julian Assange’s last birthday without freedom”, they stressed.

Amnesty International Australia calls on the Australian government to demand that the United States drop the charges against Julian Assange and end extradition efforts.

Dominique Pradalié, President of the International Federation of Journalists, congratulated Julian’s 52nd birthday with a blog post recounting his “crimes” and achievements.

Indeed, if an Australian journalist, having published in Europe, were to be brought before an American court, and held subject to US law, who, in this world, would then dare to publicly displease the US administration?

Julian, you must be released, rehabilitated, fulfilled with your rights and returned to your wife and two young children.

To mark the occasion, solidarity rallies and support actions were held across the world.

In the US, Free Assange banners were set up across the country.

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Pope Francis holds meeting with Stella Assange

On Friday, June 30th, Pope Francis has met with Julian Assange’s family, his wife Stella and their two children.

After the audience, Stella Assange said the Pope’s gesture in receiving them was evidence of his concern over the suffering of her husband, Julian.

He has provided great solace and comfort and we are extremely appreciative for his reaching out to our family in this way.

She added that the Pope had sent a letter to her husband in March 2021, during a particularly difficult period, and that the visit reflects his “ongoing show of support for our family’s plight”.

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Reports that the FBI has ‘re-opened’ its Assange investigation are incorrect

On Thursday, Sydney Morning Herald incorrectly reported that the FBI investigation into Julian Assange had been ‘re-opened’.

The Herald revealed that the FBI sought to interview a London-based writer about his time working on Assange biography project in 2011. The request was denied by the writer who said he opposes any attempt to punish Assange for publishing classified material.

The FBI’s failed attempt to solicit a new witness, however, does not constitute the investigation’s re-opening, but its continuation. The process, initiated under the Trump Administration in 2017, has since been ongoing.

In their statement Wikileaks emphasized that the move indicates that the persecution has no case.

“The case against Julian Assange has no foundation and is politically motivated. The FBI’s latest move simply highlights the political desperation of his persecutors. The FBI’s efforts to create a case out of thin air include making a convicted fraudster their star witness (who has since recanted his testimony).”

Read the full Wikileaks statement bellow:

On Thursday, the Sydney Morning Herald incorrectly reported in a front-page story that the FBI investigation into Julian Assange had been ‘re-opened’. Since the current process was initiated in 2017 under the Trump Administration after pressure from CIA head Michael Pompeo, the investigation has never been closed. It is therefore nonsensical to suggest it has been re-opened.

The Herald’s story stemmed from an FBI request to a London-based writer to “discuss your experiences with Assange/Wikileaks”. This writer had worked on a project of a biography about Mr. Assange in 2011. The writer told the Herald he would rather go to prison than cooperate with the FBI’s efforts to silence a journalist.The FBI request was sent on the same day that President Biden was scheduled to address the Australian Parliament, before he cancelled his official visit.

That same day, May 23rd, Stella Assange briefed a packed room of Australian members of parliament from all political parties and held a press conference in the Parliamentary building. Her visit came after months of building momentum culminating in a week of unprecedented political unity and supporter engagement in Australia. Recent polls show 89% of Australians want Assange free. An extraordinary and undeniable level of support.

Stella Assange said:

“I wanted my first ever visit to Australia to be with Julian and our children,  but after four years he remains imprisoned in London whilst facing a life sentence in the United States. The solid support of the Australian people who overwhelmingly want to see Julian brought home to Australia has cemented my belief that Julian is closer than he has ever been to returning to his family. The US and Australian governments now have a duty to sit down and draw up a solution given the swell of political and public support in Julian’s home country. The Australian people will be funding the USD 245bn nuclear submarine AUKUS deal over the next thirty years and their opinion on releasing Julian therefore cannot be ignored.”

The case against Julian Assange has no foundation and is politically motivated. The FBI’s latest move simply highlights the political desperation of his persecutors. The FBI’s efforts to create a case out of thin air include making a convicted fraudster their star witness (who has since recanted his testimony).

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks said:

“The FBI has reached an alarming new low by asking a journalist (Mr. O’Hagan) to reveal his interactions with his source (Mr. Assange). There can be no doubt that the decisions taken in the case of Julian Assange are having a chilling effect on journalists globally. From spying on Julian’s lawyers, to planning his assassination, the behaviour of his persecutors is opening a Pandora’s box of abuses of power. The message that needs to be sent to the Biden administration and the Attorney General Merrick Garland is, for the sake of press freedom all over the world: Drop The Charges. End this now.”

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Stella Assange visits Australia

May 24, 2023 — Stella Assange is in Australia raising support for the release of her husband, imprisoned publisher Julian Assange.

“Although it is my first time coming to Australia, I do not feel like a stranger on these shores,” she said speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, May 22nd. “I have mixed emotions about being here, because I had always imagined my first visit to be with my husband and children.”

She declared that the prosecution of Julian Assange was being used to “bully journalists into submission” and urged the Albanese government to offer a “political solution” and bring her husband home.

“Julian’s life is in the hands of the Australian government”, she stressed.

Mrs Assange added that she believes they are closer than ever to a resolution in Assange’s long-running case, but that securing his release from prison is a matter of life and death.

On Tuesday, accompanied by Assange’s Australian lawyer Jennifer Robinson, and his brother and father Gabriel and John Shipton, she attended a briefing at the Parliament House.

Speaking after the briefing, MP Andrew Wilkie said it was vital for the Australian Government to ramp up its support for Julian. “There has been growing support for Julian in Australia, with politicians from all parties agreeing that the persecution of Julian has gone on too long and must be brought to an end.”

“Proud to stand beside Stella Assange to call for the Australian Government to ramp up its support for Julian Assange”, Wilkie wrote in a Twitter post.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protestors have joined the wife of Julian Assange in Hyde Park, calling on the Federal Government to help secure his release. Next to Mrs Assange, a number of long-time Julian’s supporters, including Scott Ludlum, David McBride, and Stephen Kenny, spoke at the rally. Mr Kenny, a lawyer for former Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, told the crowd that Assange had committed no crime.

“This is a political matter and it requires a political solution,” he said.

Watch Stella Assange’s speech at the Sydney rally.

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President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador receives Wikileaks delegation

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, and Joseph Farrell, ambassador of the organization, met with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico. During their Latin American tour, representatives of Wikileaks have so far been received by Presidents of Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.

López Obrador reiterated his solidarity with Julian Assange, imprisoned in the Belmarsh maximum security prison in London, and promised to speak about the case with US President Joe Biden, in the private meeting of both leaders.

Hrafnsson noted that the meeting “was a good conclusion to our tour of Latin America. Now we have the commitment of all the main countries south of the US border, to put pressure on the Biden administration, call on it to do the right thing and practice what he preaches on the issue of free speech, and to drop the charges against Julian.”

Hrafnsson emphasized that it is clear that Assange’s case is political and not judicial. “They are even avoiding the fact that the extradition request violates the extradition treaty between the United States and Great Britain. This treaty prohibits extradition for political reasons, and Julian is charged with the political offense in its purest form: espionage.” So “we cannot depend on the judicial process, we have to treat this for what it is: a political persecution that requires the intervention and interest of political leaders”, he said.

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WikiLeaks delegation meets with Bolivian President Luis Arce

Continuing their Latin American tour, Wikileaks representatives Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-Chief and Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks Ambassador were received by Bolivia President, Luis Arce and the Minister of the Presidency, Maria Nela Prada to discuss the case of WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange. The meeting took place on Saturday, December 17th, in the capital La Paz at the Casa Grande del Pueblo.

President Arce spoke frankly of the threat to press freedom and the necessity to uphold human rights and the right to information. The president was firm in his support of Julian Assange and the desire to see him a free man.

This follows previous meetings over the last month with President-elect Lula of Brazil, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández and President Gustavo Petro of Colombia all of whom declared their support for the WikiLeaks publisher and called on authorities to cease their prosecution for the simple act of journalism.

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The Brazilian Senate Human Rights Commission receives Wikileaks and holds hearing on Freedom of Press, Opinion and Right to Information

Today, The Commission on Human Rights and Participative Legislation (CDH) of the Federal Senate of Brazil has held an interactive public hearing to shed light at the numerous cases of attacks and threats to the work of journalists in Brazil and around the world, including the Julian Assange case. The hearing was held at the initiative of Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE), who presided over the Panel. It was convened as a part of Wikileaks Latin American tour. Wikileaks representatives Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell previously met with Presidents of Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, as well as with numerous legislators, policy makers and representatives of media freedom organizations.

“It is ironic that the accusers are precisely the ones who were unmasked,” said Carol Proner, a professor of international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Assange’s case itself brings to light the “crimes committed” by US security forces, said the lawyer during the hearing.

The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson highlighted that the possible extradition of Assange “will send a signal that any journalist who ventures to expose the secrets of the powerful will be punished”.

The Commission has deliberated that it will produce a note to be sent to the US, UK and Australian Embassies and form a delegation to go to Washington. It also mentioned that the Brazilian President-elect Lula da Silva has endorsed WikiLeaks and stated that defending the freedom of Julian Assange will be part of government policy.

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Prominent free press and human rights groups send letter calling for US to drop charges against Julian Assange

December 8, 2022 — A coalition of 21 freedom of press and human rights organisations – including Committee to Protect Journalists, ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Index On Censorship, RSF, Freedom Of The Press Foundation – have written a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to abandon the persecution of Julian Assange.

The letter reads:

“We, the undersigned coalition of press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights organizations, write to express grave concern about the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, under the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“It is more than a year since our coalition sent a joint letter calling for the charges against Assange to be dropped. In June, then U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Assange’s extradition to the United States, a decision that Assange’s legal team is in the process of appealing. Today, we repeat those concerns, and urge you to heed our request. We believe that the prosecution of Assange in the U.S. would set a harmful legal precedent and deliver a damaging blow to press freedom by opening the way for journalists to be tried under the Espionage Act if they receive classified material from whistleblowers.

(…)

“It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration’s decision to indict Assange – a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself. Correcting the course is essential to protect journalists’ ability to report freely on the United States without fear of retribution.

“We again urge you to protect democratic values and human rights norms, including freedom of the press, by abandoning this relentless pursuit of Assange.”

The groups wrote to the Biden DOJ back in February and October 2021 to warn of the dangers of the Assange prosecution, and here they reiterate how it threatens media freedom and the First Amendment and undermines the country’s ability to defend journalists against repression by authoritarian and other rights-abusing regimes abroad.

Read the full letter here.

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Wikileaks representatives meet with the President of Argentina

After the meetings with President of Colombia Gustavo Petro and President-elect of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, and Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks Ambassador were received by President of Argentina Alberto Fernández.

They discussed Julian Assange’s plight and the ongoing extradition battle. After the meeting Hrafnsson stated that “the President told us that he would support our mission”, adding that “it is extremely positive to receive such a clear signal of support from the country’s highest authority”.

Hrafnsson stressed that “it is not just about a man or a life, it is about a much greater interest: it is the freedom of the press in the world that is at stake” and concluded by saying: “That is the position of the main human rights organizations in the world that have taken an interest in the case and for this reason the leaders have joined so strongly”.

Hrafnsson and Farrell also met with the Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. “In these meetings we have seen absolute support,” Hrafnsson said, adding that “this is revenge against an individual, an award-winning journalist, for exposing the dark secrets of the empire.”

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Wikileaks delegation meets with President-elect of Brazil

Continuing their Latin American tour, Wikileaks representatives Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell met with President-elect of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to discuss the freedom of Julian Assange.

President-elect of Brazil Lula da Silva ⁦expressed his ongoing support for Julian Assange and the demand to end his persecution, understanding it can damage press freedom worldwide.

Kristinn Hrafnnson, Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks, and Joseph Farrell, Wikileaks Ambassador “briefed me on the health situation and the fight for the freedom of Julian Assange,” Lula tweeted, “I asked them to send my solidarity. May Assange be released from his unjust imprisonment,” he added.

In Brasilia, Hrafnnson and Farrell were received by Humberto Costa, President of the Brazilian Senat’s Commission for Human Rights and Maria do Rosario, Member of Federal Parliament and former Minister for Human Rights.

At the same time, Brazilian lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution urging the US authorities to drop the charges against Julian Assange. The resolution will be filed at the American Embassy and addressed to US President Biden and the US Congress.

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NYT, The Guardian, major media outlets urge U.S. to drop Julian Assange charges

November 28, 2022 — Marking the 12th anniversary since they worked with WikiLeaks to publish the State Department Cables, the Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times come together to oppose the U.S. prosecution of Julian Assange.

The five media organizations that first helped WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange publish leaked diplomatic cables have penned an open letter telling the U.S. government it must drop his prosecution because it is undermining press freedom.

The letter reads:

“Cablegate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US state department, disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.

For Julian Assange, publisher of WikLeaks, the publication of “Cablegate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On April 12th 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high-security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organised crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum-security prison.

This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s first amendment and the freedom of the press.

Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.

Twelve years after the publication of “Cablegate”, it is time for the US government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.

Publishing is not a crime.

More coverage

Forbes | ‘White House Asked Point Blank About New York Times Urging US To Drop Charges Against Julian Assange

The Nation | ‘A United Front Is Needed to Fight the Threat to Journalism Posed by the Assange Prosecution

“…at this critical juncture there should be no lack of clarity regarding the extradition charges against Assange. That’s why it is important that the message of the IFJ’s “Journalism is Not a Crime” campaign be amplified—not just by media outlets and journalists but also by civil rights and civil liberties groups. Last year, the ACLU, Amnesty International USA, and Human Rights Watch warned the Justice Department that “a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press.”

Truthdig | ‘Journalists Push Biden to Free Julian Assange

“The conduct for which Assange is accused of breaking the law is exactly what the new DOJ regulation defines as protected “news gathering”; namely “the process by which a member of the news media collects, pursues or obtains information or records for purposes of producing content intended for public dissemination,” including “classified information” from confidential sources. The Justice Department is also said to have removed “espionage” from a list of criminal activities excluded from protected news gathering.

If the Biden administration means what it says, it should immediately reverse one of the worst legal excesses of Donald Trump’s term. The indictment of Assange is the first time in the 230-year history of the First Amendment that a media organization is being prosecuted for publishing or disseminating classified information disclosed by a whistleblower. Since founding Wikileaks, Assange has been in the business of gathering and publishing newsworthy information and documents, activities clearly protected by the First Amendment.”

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Wikileaks delegation touring Latin America to raise support for Julian Assange

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks Ambassador are touring Latin America, meeting with seven heads of state to discuss Julian Assange’s extradition battle and raise support for his release.

On November 21st Hrafnsson and Farrell met with the President of Colombia Gustavo Petro and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Álvaro Leyva Duran in Bogota. President Petro promised to help “put pressure on the Biden government” to drop the charges against Julian Assange, expressed his commitment to fight for his freedom, and encouraged political leaders around the world to do the same.

“They’ve shown a clear commitment to support the fight for Julian Assange’s freedom, and strongly recognized the implications for press freedom worldwide that his extradition would set”, Hrafnsson said in a statement after the meeting.

After their meeting with President Petro, Hrafnsson and Farrell attended an event with Colombian NGO’s where they discussed Julian Assange, human rights and how to defend freedom of the press.

On November 22nd, WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson took part in the event “Assange, Wikileaks and journalism: freedom of expression imprisoned” at the National University of Colombia together with representatives of academia and freedom of expression organisations.