Julian Assange is facing a 175-year sentence for publishing US government documents revealing evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses. The publication of these public interest releases was the result of collaboration between WikiLeaks and multiple news organizations including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and many others. The politically motivated decision to prosecute is unprecedented and would set a chilling precedent for every journalist and publisher in the world.
Despite a 4 January 2021 UK Magistrates Court ruling that his extradition would be oppressive and must be stopped, Assange continues to be denied bail and remains in detention. He has been detained in one form or another for over 10 years – either under house arrest, seven years while under political asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, or for the past two years in Belmarsh Maximum security prison.
Due to Covid restrictions, Assange has been unable to receive any visitors for more than a year, including his fiancee and two young children. Communication with his lawyers has been difficult and Assange’s ability to prepare for the US appeal against him severely hampered.
There has been mounting pressure on the US Department of Justice to distance itself from the Trump-era prosecution of Julian and drop the charges entirely. The proceedings against Mr. Assange “jeopardizing journalism that is crucial to democracy.”
This international public symposium of parliamentarians and legislators discusses and examines the issues at stake in the Julian Assange case. The event was livestreamed by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels.
All major Human Rights and Free Press Organizations have opposed Assange’s extradition including Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch and many more. Newspaper Editorial boards including The Guardian, New York Times, El Pais, Der Speigel, Le Monde, as well as major Journalist Unions including the UK’s NUJ and Australia’s MEAA have voiced their strong opposition to the proceeding against Assange and the threat it poses to journalism and the free press.
Watch the full event here:
- Session 1. Briefing on the Julian Assange case with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. Chaired by Richard Burgon MP. Followed by questions and contributions.
- Session 2. Country Reports: A chance for attendees to discuss the situation in their countries.
- Session 3. How to take the campaign forward. With former Nobel prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, German Member of Parliament Sevim Dagdelen and UK MP Richard Burgon – with questions and contributions from attendees.