Assange Censorship Peoples Dispatch

Progressive Voices Demand Assange’s Release on Third Year of His Imprisonment

As the extradition to the United States looms large for the Wikileaks founder, progressive figures, movements and supporters have renewed calls for his release.
Projections were put up on buildings across London on the third anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrest on April 11, 2022. (Photo: Wikileaks/Twitter)

By Peoples Dispatch

As his extradition to the United States looms large, Julian Assange completed three years of imprisonment in the United Kingdom on Monday, April 11. Held in a high security prison complex in Belmarsh in the outskirts of London, the Wikileaks founder has been in prison since 2019 when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by the police.

Marking the anniversary, Assange’s supporters held vigils in London and around the world. Last month, on March 14, the UK Supreme Court rejected Assange’s request to appeal against his extradition sanctioned by the High Court in London, making his extradition very likely.

Later this month on April 20, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which had earlier declined the US extradition request, is expected to issue the order to extradite as per the High Court’s directive. The order is then to be passed on to the UK home office, which will have the final say to sanction the extradition.

Assange’s defense will have until May 18 to file submissions against his extradition before home secretary Priti Patel from the ruling Conservative Party government under Boris Johnson. The same home office had certified the US extradition request in June 2019 under Patel’s predecessor Sajid Javid in the previous Conservative government of Theresa May.

Supporters and family members of Assange have called on the Johnson government in the UK and the Joe Biden administration in the US to stop his continued persecution. Speaking to reporters, Assange’s wife Stella Assange, who has for long been campaigning against his extradition, called his continued imprisonment as both a “national disgrace” and a “criminal act”.

Arguing that the extradition treaty between the US and UK explicitly prohibits extradition for political offenses, she pointed out that the UK could have easily ended Assange’s imprisonment as per the treaty.

“The UK Government can and should obey the word of the treaty and put an end to the extradition process once and for all,” she said. “Julian’s incarceration and extradition process is an abuse in itself.”

While calling for his release, Stella Assange pointed to his deteriorating mental and physical health, the UN special rapporteur’s report of psychological torture inflicted on him, and the recent revelations of snooping and even rendition and assassination plans made at the highest levels of the US government.

“The UK is imprisoning a publisher on behalf of the foreign power who conspired to murder him. There is no way of concealing any more that Julian is the victim of a vicious political persecution,” she added.

Demonstrations were held in different parts of the world on Sunday, April 10, calling for Assange’s release. In London, vigils were held at the Ecuadorian embassy, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the Belmarsh prison, while slogans and banners were projected on different buildings in the city.

Meanwhile, a group of progressive public figures from around the world have called on the US government to drop the prosecution against Assange. The call was made in a letter addressed to US president Joe Biden and house speaker Nancy Pelosi and signed by nearly three dozen progressive voices like Dilma Rouseff, Yanis Varoufakis, Roger Waters, Andre Arauz and Rafael Correa.

Asking for all 18 federal charges against Assange to be dropped, the signatories argued that “such a gesture… will send a strong message to the world: that freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government, including that of the United States of America.”

“It would affirm the defense of this Fundamental Human Right and would undoubtedly represent a clear and robust sign that everyone can express their opinion without fear of retaliation; that all the press outlets can give news to all the citizens of the world, with the certainty that the pluralism of thought is guaranteed,” the letter further added.

Once extradited, Assange will face a federal grand jury in the US for indicting him on 18 charges. All but one of these charges are under the infamous US Espionage Act, and carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 175 years.

The charges are related to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also other major violations of international laws. Rights groups and Assange’s supporters have long argued that the prosecution represents a major attack on press freedoms both within the US and around the world.

Peoples Dispatch

Peoples Dispatch, formerly The Dawn News, is an international media project with the mission of bringing to you voices from people’s movements and organizations across the globe. Since its establishment three years ago, it has sought to ensure that the coverage of news from around the world is not restricted to the rhetoric of politicians and the fortunes of big companies but encompasses the richness and diversity of mobilizations from around the world.

12 comments

  1. ” ‘such a gesture… will send a strong message to the world: that freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government, including that of the United States of America.’ ”

    Good grief! seems more like the message of a prosecution! The US is prosecuting him precisely BECAUSE such freedom “constitute(s) an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government, including that of the United States of America.”

  2. I tell ya what. IF Assange is sent here to the U.S. and Biden does not pardon him, I will Never again vote Democrat Party.

    1. He won’t. Biden already acted as judge and jury when he publicly called Assange a “high tech terrorist.” What does the US do to those they declare “terrorists?”

    2. To Nylene,
      Really, you’re still voting D? I stopped doing that decades ago ..

    3. Why would you be voting for them now? Biden confiscated 7 billion from Afghanistan; that is a major crime. That alone should keep one from voting for Dems, or Republicans for that matter. Assange IS going to be sent here, unfortunately. So you can follow through on not voting for the bastards.

    4. @Nylene13
      He won’t, and don’t vote Democrat regardless. Democrats are just another pro-war corporate pro-Wall Street party, and that includes the phony Squad members whose main job is to sheepdog real progressives into the Democratic party so they can be neutered.

    5. I agree with you, Nylene. But, the decision not to vote for a Democrat would mean, if you vote at all, a vote for a Republican which could be worse. With the Julian Assange and Ukraine cases together I’ve thrown up my hands to both.

  3. It states that the letter was sent to Biden, but not when, or whether he responded. The only Biden statement that I’ve come across, concerning Assange, was when Biden oddly called him a “high tech terrorist.” That was all I’ve heard/read from any members of Congress regarding Assange, which seems strikingly… creepy.

  4. What the Julian Assange situation shows us is that we must be very strategic in even publishing information, if that information exposes what powerful rulers do that most people would strongly oppose. I have ultimate respect for Assange, but he sacrificed his life for this. I don’t know how he could have published information differently so that he wouldn’t end up imprisoned, but obviously doing it so openly wasn’t the answer.

    1. How about publishing 1 document instead of thousands. The New York Times and the Washington Post do it and then write an article or opinion piece on the 1 classified document and then redact any names that need to be redacted. it’s not so difficult.

      1. @Jack
        I wasn’t going to respond, but I see by your reply to Nylene that you’re not on our side and that your reply to me was dishonest. The New York Times and Washington Post are propaganda outlets, not news, and they have nothing to do with Assange or Wikileaks except for occasionally publishing what they reveal for fear of being left out and embarrassed.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: