Letter: The life of multiple award-winning journalist, Julian Assange, could be in jeopardy

This reader believes Julian Assange’s life is in jeopardy and urges anyone else also concerned to act now. She lists how you can help.

Assange graffiti

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This from Anna Fauzy-Ackroyd. Ed


I am writing regarding my serious concerns for the health of Julian Assange, founder and former editor in chief of Wikileaks.

On 29th May 2019, it was reported that he had been moved to the Belmarsh Prison medical ward.

Almost seven weeks in isolation
This was after more than seven weeks, in the prison, mostly in isolation, after being seized from the Ecuadorian embassy on 11th April 2019 (where he sought and received political asylum in order to avoid extradition to the USA).

He was arrested for jumping bail in 2012 and on 1st May sentenced to 50 weeks in the high security prison, a sentence described by UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as ‘disproportionate’.

Swedish defence lawyer Per Samuelson visited Assange in British custody on Friday (24th May) and said that Assange’s health situation was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him”.

“Sustained collective persecution”
The UN rapporteur on torture visited Julian Assange in HMP Belmarsh on 9th May with two medical experts. In his statement on Friday 31st May he said that Assange had been subjected to sustained collective persecution – including threatening statements and incitement to violence against him.

Mr Melzer told the BBC,

“I’ve worked in many areas of war in my life, in situations of violence, and I’ve talked to victims of persecution around the world and I’ve seen very serious atrocities.

“But [what] I have never seen is that a single person has been deliberately isolated and, I would say, persecuted – not prosecuted, but persecuted – by several democratic states in a concerted effort to eventually break his will.”

Melzer: “No chance of a fair trial”
He added that he believes Assange

“Has a very strong case, and a very reasonable fear, that if he gets extradited to the Unites States he has no chance to get a fair trial with the level of public and official prejudice that exists there for him.”

Mr Melzer added that, because of his treatment, his health was at serious risk. He said,

“We could see that Assange showed all the symptoms that are typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.”

Assange, he said, needs access to a psychiatrist who is “not part of the prison service – someone he can fully trust” – to avoid his health deteriorating further.

Influence of press smears
In an interview he also spoke about how he himself had been influenced by press smears against Julian:

“When I was first approached by his defense team seeking protection from my mandate in December last year, I was reluctant to do so, because, me, too, I had been affected by this prejudice that I had absorbed through all these public, you know, narratives spread in the media over the years.

“And only when I scratched the surface a little bit, I saw how little foundation there was to back this up and how much fabrication and manipulation there is in this case. So I encourage everybody to really look below the surface in this case.”

This article from Jonathon Cook looks at the legal ‘anomalies’ in Assange’s case.

US Extradition request
In addition to ongoing health problems, symptoms of psychological torture and seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange now faces court cases for an extradition request from the USA on Espionage charges which carry a sentence of 175 years.

Julian Assange’s next extradition hearing could be held at Belmarsh after he failed to appear via video-link today (Thursday 30th May) due to him being “not very well”, a court heard. 

Australian Assange did not appear at the five-minute hearing with regard to extradition on Thursday, where chief magistrate (Baroness) Emma Arbuthnot set a date of June 12 for the next hearing, and said:

“It may be that that hearing will take place in Belmarsh.”

Ms Arbuthnot added:

“It may be more convenient for everyone if it’s there.”

Act now if you’re also concerned
For those who are concerned about human rights and the freedom of the press it is urgent to act now.

Julian Assange’s life is in jeopardy and as summarized by the UN rapporteur he should be freed. Some actions are listed below:

  • Write to your MP.  NB. I have received a response from Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely who wrote that he did not oppose Julian Assange’s extradition.
  • Write to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Home Office
  • Public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
  • Write to Julian Assange at Belmarsh https://writejulian.com/
  • Write to organisations encouraging them to speak up for Julian i.e. Amnesty International
  • Donate to the Wikileaks Defence Fund
  • Sign and donate to petitions in support of Julian
  • Get updates from independent news sources such as Media Lens, Jonathon Cook and 21st Century Wire
  • Donate to crowd funders that support Julian (here)
  • Put in prayer requests /pray for JulianCorrect misinformation when speaking to others
  • Buy items from the Wikileaks shop
  • Print posters (here)

Multiple award-winning journalist
In the midst of much media misinformation it is important to remember that Julian Assange is a multiple award-winning journalist with more than 15 international recognitions of his work including ‘2010 Time Person of the Year’ (Reader’s Choice) and has been repeatedly nominated for a Nobel Peace prize.

In Julian Assange’s words:

“If wars can be started by lies, Peace can be started by truth.”

Image: newtown_grafitti under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 7th June, 2019 9:54am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2mWc

Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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13 Comments on "Letter: The life of multiple award-winning journalist, Julian Assange, could be in jeopardy"

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profoundlife
I wish him no ill at all and hope he recovers. That should, and I believe is, everyone’s priority. Let us not forget that he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy because he was avoiding extradition for extradition on a criminal charges of sexual offences. Ecuador allowed his removal from there after he was smearing their walls with excrement and spying on the ambassador. Wikileaks has done… Read more »
Zanna

The current President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno is involved in corruption charges here

Zanna

And more analysis here

truth

Excellent article, I didn’t know there are so many things that can be done to help. Thank you OTW for printing this, and thank you Anna for writing this. Julian and Chelsea have been extraordinarily brave in their actions and they need support.

kirkauld

I just wish that the human rights of people suffering from cuts in adult social care were afforded the same amount of concern by these organisations!!

Zanna

The United Nations has condemned the British government’s “punitive, mean-spirited and often callous” treatment of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable, in a damning report.

It is all connected. Wikileaks was set up so that people could be informed of the truth with a view to this bringing about a more just society.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/SRExtremePovertyIndex.aspx

Zanna

New interview with Nils Melzer

here

iain mckie
I have long thought that Assange is a deeply unpleasant individual. But I believe that the majority of the work that he and Wikileaks have done has been a legitimate exercise in whistle blowing.Exposing cruelty and violence conducted by the state is something which we should be aware of. Credit to him for that. The State expects us to abide by rules which it ignores. I am… Read more »
Zanna
A plea from Julian Assange’s mother who is finds it deeply painful to read all the personal judgements on her son from people who haven’t even met him.Joi Julian Assange’s Mom says: Please stop with the: “You dont have to like Assange to condemn US indictment” 1) Few people have actually met him! 2) What you ‘know” is smear from 9 yr political persecution! 3) We dont… Read more »
bren
The torture of Julian Assange is nothing to do with rape. People who’ve listened to rubbish about rape charges and excrement smeared on walls should really look in to these things further, starting with this article: https://www.thecanary.co/feature/2019/06/06/un-torture-expert-says-assanges-persecution-very-similar-to-historic-witch-hunts-in-exclusive-interview/ CIA psychiatrists planned what they would need to do to first influence public opinion and isolate Julian Assange. Also follow the links in the article mentioned by Anna: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-05-27/abuses-show-assange-case-was-never-about-law/ Let’s… Read more »
hialtitude
Chelsea Manning is in prison, held for her refusal to testify to a grand jury. She has been held since the 16th of May. She has stated that she would rather starve to death than testify. Obama reduced her sentence and she was free for a short while. But the British government welcomes Trump, fetes him, lets him meet the Queen and attend the D-Day celebration. American… Read more »
profoundlife

We welcomed the American president to commemorate D Day. We didn’t let him stay in a Travelodge. It may well be unfortunate that on this anniversary that is Donald Trump, but democracy, mutual respect between allies and diplomatic relations ‘trump’ dislike of him.

hialtitude

Whataboutery, much.

Trump is a monster, I am ashamed to be British that he is allowed in the United Kingdom.

Free Chelsea Manning. She has served her time, paid the price, now she is jail for no other reason than barbaric punishment and pettiness.

All she was guilty of was having a conscience in the first place.