Britain: Trade unionists back campaign to free Assange

July 17, 2020

Birmingham, Plymouth, and Newcastle trades and labour councils have recently voted overwhelmingly to join the campaign to halt the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he could face 175 years in jail.

According to the #DontExtraditeAssange campaign, a similar motion was defeated last year in Plymouth. However, a resolution sponsored by the National Union of Journalists “sailed through last week”.

Assange’s extradition hearing is set to resume in September. The NUJ resolution is now being circulated for other trade unions, Labour Party bodies, and campaign organisations to adapt for their own use.

“This is the defining free speech case of the 21st century,” said John Rees from the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign. “Freedom of information, free from government censorship, is the lifeblood of an effective labour movement. The NUJ have made a stand.

The NUJ resolution said that Assange’s indictment “criminalises journalistic activities” and the “special relationship’ between the UK and US” makes his extradition “more likely to go ahead”. The NUJ also believes that “the publication of the Afghan and Iraq war logs and other material by WikiLeaks that are the subject of the US indictment revealed important information that has benefitted the public”.

[The NUJ motion in full can be found here.]

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