Saturday, December 10, 2022

Journalists demand that Assange be released from British prison

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An international coalition of journalists, editors and publishers on Wednesday demanded that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be released from a British prison immediately and that all charges against him be dropped.

Fifteen representatives of journalists ‘and publishers’ unions and organizations from six countries met in Geneva for the ‘call to free Julian Assange in the name of press freedom’

The applicants also appealed to Swiss authorities, who said they had worked to protect Assange, to facilitate his release by providing him with a safe haven from further prosecution in Switzerland.

The call came after the British government last week approved Assange’s extradition to the United States, to the dismay of his supporters and free press campaign.

Assange, 50, said he would appeal the decision.

He is on trial for violating US espionage law by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010, and could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

The Assange case has become a celebrity for media freedom and its supporters accuse Washington of trying to muzzle reporting on legal security issues.

Wednesday’s event described the British decision as a “flagrant violation of human rights and a display of total contempt for freedom of the press”.

Pierre Ruetschi, the head of the Swiss Press Club hosting the event, warned that “democracy is being taken hostage”.

“This attempt to criminalize journalism is a serious threat.”

Tim Dawson, of the National Union of Journalists of Britain and Ireland, agreed.
“If Julian Assange could be threatened with prosecution as a spy, what could that mean for other journalists?” he said.

Assange has been detained at a top security prison in south-east London since 2019 for releasing bail in a previous case in which he accused him of sexual assault in Sweden.

Prior to that, he spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being deported to Sweden.

The Australian was arrested when the government changed in Quito and his diplomatic protection was removed.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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