Free Julian Assange

Julian Assange, who has spent almost 14 years in captivity in the United Kingdom, must sill wait several more weeks to know if he is going to be extradited to the United States or if he can appeal his case before the British justice.

By Flor Salgueiro

The ruling of the British justice

The High Court in London ruled a few days ago that Assange can again appeal his extradition to the United States. His transfer can also be stopped by the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights or by a last-minute agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Although the decision of the British court is ambiguous, it allows Assange to gain time, while forcing the U.S. Justice to present more information, required for the hearing to be held next May 20. The justices demand guarantees from Washington that its courts will respect the right to freedom of expression (contemplated in the First Amendment of the Constitution), that Assange will receive the same procedural guarantees as any other citizen and a formal commitment that he will not be condemned to death penalty. If the U.S. does not accept these three conditions, the WikiLeaks co-founder will be able to re-file an appeal against his extradition in the British courts.

They impart impunity, not justice

The justice of imperialism, according to the arguments presented last February in London, assures that Assange “is not a journalist” and did not respect the standards of the media outlets that collaborated with him in 2010, such as the New York Times, El País and The Guardian. Several journalist defense associations claim that Assange’s case and the fact that the 1917 Espionage Act is being used could set a very serious precedent in limiting freedom of the press. If the current accusation of espionage against the editor, and the claim that he be sentenced to 175 years in prison, becomes a reality, it will be the most serious blow to freedom of the press and expression in the last decades. The persecution of Assange and WikiLeaks is an attack on independent, investigative journalism, on those who denounce and reveal the secrets of the powerful, as also happened with the Panama Papers and Pandora Papers cases, among others. The imperialists intend to give a frightening message to those who denounce the murders of their army and NATO. Furthermore, they present themselves as the depositaries of equanimity, justice, “security against terrorism”, “peace and democracy”, when in reality they are responsible for the inequality, crimes and generalized impunity resulting from their aggressive and plundering world hegemony.

They intend to cover up atrocities

The US justice system opened a case against Assange, when Donald Trump was president, which continues with Joe Biden’s administration. The prosecution accuses him of illegally obtaining information, of publishing on WikiLeaks (2010-2011) “confidential”, “secret” documents and of endangering those who appeared in them. The leaks reached the international press, with the release of communications between the Department of State and its embassies around the world. The videos showed the massacres of U.S. troops against civilians during the invasion of Iraq, and the atrocities carried out both in that country and in Afghanistan.

Chronicle of an inhumane persecution

In August 2012 Assange took asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy located in the United Kingdom, and although in 2017 he obtained citizenship, it was withdrawn in 2019 by the then president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, who in addition stopped providing him with asylum from which he was arrested by plainclothes agents of Scotland Yard. In Sweden he suffered accusations of rape and sexual harassment, the investigation of which was finally closed by the Prosecutor’s Office. Assange suffered a long period of anti-human persecution that caused him severe physical and mental harm.

Mobilization against extradition and for freedom

The arrest and extradition of Assange, regardless of his political positions, is an attack by imperialist capitalism against elementary democratic rights and independent journalism. It is necessary to revive the worldwide campaign against extradition and for his immediate release without charges, as well as that of all those implicated for collaborating with Assange. It is necessary to demand the opening of all war archives, the abolition of state secrets and the punishment of the invaders, criminals and torturers in the service of imperialism, wherever they are in the country they are in. These are the criminals who must be punished.