A recent open letter by journalists has been signed by over 400 journalists as of today demanding the “unconditional freedom” of fellow journalist Julian Assange. Assange is awaiting possible extradition to the United States to face 18 indictments for publishing war crimes by the U.S. which would hold a sentence of 175 years. His conviction would result in the end of free press as we know it and enable the U.S. to convict and incarcerate any journalist around the world who exposes criminal activity by the United States government.
Assange remains in high security Belmarsh prison with little to no access to other human beings. Judge Vanessa Baraitser gave him remand status but the conditions he is enduring have not changed. He is being treated worse than the terrorists and murderers that surround him. Journalists everywhere are now taking a stand against this travesty of justice.
According to an article by World Socialist Web Site seen here:
The journalists’ stand follows the issuing of an open letter to the British Home Secretary last month by more than 65 eminent doctors, condemning the denial of adequate medical care to Assange and warning that he could die in prison. It coincides with a statement by a group of international lawyers documenting the illegality of the US-led persecution of Assange and calling for his immediate release.
These initiatives reveal that outside the rarefied circles of the governments, intelligence agencies and media corporations that have spearheaded the nine-year campaign against Assange, world public opinion is with the WikiLeaks founder and against his persecutors.
The journalists’ letter states: “This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech. If the US government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide.”
The letter bluntly declares: “In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy.”
It reviews the repeated findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Assange was effectively subjected to illegal detention by the British authorities when they besieged the Ecuadorian embassy, where he successfully sought political asylum in 2012.
The letter outlines the conclusion of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who has stated that Assange’s legal and democratic rights have been trampled on and that he has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign of “public mobbing” that has amounted to “psychological torture.”
More journalists worldwide are sure to sign in the future. It is time for the U.K. to release this publisher and editor. t is way past time to Free Assange.
Journalists Sign here