Stella Assange headlines rally to free Julian Assange

May 26, 2023
Stella Assange marches with Stephen Kenny to free Julian Assange
Stella Assange marches with Stephen Kenny to free Julian Assange. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

Stella Assange headlined a protest of up to 1000 people on May 24 calling for her husband Julian Assange to be freed.

Stella planned her trip to Sydney to coincide with US President Joe Biden’s visit for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“the Quad”) meetings with Anthony Albanese and the Japanese and Indian leaders.

Biden pulled out, but she came to continue to mount the case that Julian must be freed and US attempts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder from Britain must end.

Stella said she had always hoped her first visit to Australia would be with her husband and children. She said that despite that being the case, it will not be her last since she’s “going to come back here — home — with Julian”.

Julian has been confined to isolation in high security Belmarsh Prison in Britain for more than four years.

Stella described his jailing as “cruel”.

“They are torturing Julian because he did the right thing. He is in prison because he exposed the crimes of others. No decent, humane human being will ever tolerate that.”

She said the only people who are interested in Julian staying in prison “are the ones that are guilty and are implicated in those crimes”.

She highlighted advances in the campaign to free Julian. “A few years ago there was radio silence” but now “there has been a sea change”.

This, she said, is due to campaigners’ “hard work”. “You need to keep that going,” she said.

Rally chair and former WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam begun by highlighting that journalism is not a crime.

“Gunning down journalists with helicopter gunships: that is a crime. Torturing people is a crime. Rendering people to black sites and disappearing them without any form of judicial process is a crime; drone assassinations is a crime; publishing is not a crime,” Ludlam said.

Barrister and civil libertarian Stephen Kenny said Julian had “not committed any crime at all”. This is underscored by the fact that editors of major newspapers which published the same material as WikiLeaks are not in jail. “This is a political matter and it requires a political solution.”

Whistleblower David McBride said the Australian judicial system is as bastardised as the British one: “There is a good chance that, even though I reported murder and cover-ups, that I will be going to jail for the rest of my life.”

McBride said he was “never prouder” than when he took a stand and called on others to do likewise: “the future of the planet depends on it”.

He also called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to stop saying “enough is enough” and to “step up to the plate”.

[See Green Left’s videos of Stella Assange’s speech and the whole rally. Both can be viewed on the Green Left website.]

Video: Stella Assange speaks in Sydney: Free Julian Assange. Green Left.

Video: Sydney rally to free Julian Assange (Whole Rally). Green Left.

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