On the four-year anniversary of Australian publisher Julian Assange’s remand imprisonment in London, Australian, US, UK and Brazilian politicians have appealed to the US Attorney General to drop the extradition and espionage charges against the WikiLeaks founder.
An open letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, signed by 48 Australian parliamentarians from the Government, Opposition and cross-bench, states that:
“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 Mr Assange facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. This would set a dangerous precedent for all global citizens, journalists, publishers, media organizations and the freedom of the press. It would also be needlessly damaging for the US as a world leader on freedom of expression and the rule of law.”
Says Julian’s father, John Shipton: “A pall of shame and disgrace; eighteen months house arrest, seven and a half years asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, four years remand in Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison. Fourteen years of Arbitrary Detention! The beginning of the end of this bleak, severe frost on truth and destruction of Julian Assange began its end with the High Commissioner Stephen Smith’s visit to Julian in Belmarsh Prison. The people of Australia demand Julian’s return home to Australia.”
Politicians from the US, UK, Mexico and Brazil governments have also written to the US Attorney-General this week urging him to drop the US extradition charges of Mr Assange.
International experts oppose the continued persecution of Mr Assange, including the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, as well as human rights organisations, various heads of state and parliamentarians from around the world.
Says Greg Barns SC, Assange Campaign legal advisor: “The attempt by the US to prosecute Julian Assange for revealing the truth of the Iraq war and Afghanistan is dangerous. It means any journalist or publisher anywhere in the world could face extradition to the US for exposing material Washington doesn’t want you to know about. Australia must resist sanctioning the US misuse of extraterritorial reach to stop free speech.”
The Australian politicians letter to Attorney General Garland was initiated by Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie MP who co-chairs the Parliamentary Friends of Julian Assange Group.
“The widespread political concern for Julian Assange is a powerful reminder that this terrible saga has gone on for much too long and must be brought to an end,” says Mr Wilkie. “The 48 Australian federal parliamentarians who put their name to the formal letter of concern, in concert with similar letters from parliamentarians from around the world, represents millions of constituents. This is no small matter and must not be dismissed. Nor should it be ignored that the outpouring of political concern spans the political spectrum and is based on a diverse range of reasons. This reflects how the injustice being endured by Julian Assange is so wrong on so many levels. It must be brought to an end.”
Read the Aust. parliamentarian’s letter to US Attorney General Garland