Friends of WikiLeaks: Support Assange's asylum claim

June 20, 2012

Global Friends of WikiLeaks is an independent collective of WikiLeaks supporters. It is not affiliated with WikiLeaks. The letter below was originally posted here on June 20. You can sign an online petition to the government of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in support of Julian Assange's extradition request.

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Friends of Wikileaks issue this urgent statement of support for Julian Assange's request for asylum with the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The context of Julian Assange’s house arrest and, now, extradition to Sweden cannot be disassociated from the backlash that been created by his important and radical work with WikiLeaks. There are a numerous inconsistencies in this case that deserve our attention, (see for more information).

Inconsistencies in due process relating to the issue of the European Arrest Warrant and Red Notice, the release by the Swedish police of selective witness statements to tabloid press, the re-opening of the case by a second prosecutor in Sweden after a first prosecutor threw the case off, etc etc; all actions that permeate political interference and intent and which we believe are a reaction against WikiLeaks' work in promoting transparency and human rights through radical, independent, heroic journalism.

Swedish media are trying to assert that the reason Mr. Assange must be extradited now is because Swedish law dictates that someone must be on Swedish soil in order for formal charges to be laid. But it is also true under Swedish law that a prosecutor cannot take the decision to charge until the preliminary investigation and all questioning therein has been completed. In having already taken the decision to charge Mr. Assange, Marianne Ny is breaking Swedish law. It is intolerable that in a case such as this an investigating prosecutor would decide to charge before even hearing one side's version of events and is a contradiction of intent on behalf of the investigating prosecutor.

Some Mainstream Media have been expressing prejudicial intent. For example even today Tom McCarthy at the Guardian live Blog states "Julian Assange, who was to be extradited from UK to Sweden to face sexual crime charges, seeks asylum under UN charter" But the fact is that Julian Assange has not been charged, and we have to ask the question why this inaccuracy in reporting persists if there is no intent to prejudice. There are hundreds of articles that mention the same.

Even the UK Supreme Court had to correct its own statement: paragraph 83 of the judgment refers to offences of which Mr Assange “stands charged”. This is not accurate as charges have not been brought against Mr Assange. The judgment will be corrected to read “offences in respect of which his extradition is sought”." How can this allow for a fair trial where his basic human rights are safeguarded?

If he is extradited to Sweden, we know that he awaits incommunicado detention for an indefinite amount of time. For a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country, FoWL consider this arbitrary and unlawful detention and thus a violation of European Convention on Human Rights.

Moreover, once he is extradited to Sweden, the danger of his further extradition to the USA looms. It has emerged through the release of internal emails by the US private intelligence service Stratfor that the USA have issued a sealed indictment against Mr. Assange over a year ago.

There is also a secret Grand Jury against WikiLeaks going on at the moment, attempting to charge Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act, and his death has been called for by key US officials.

The situation deserves to be read in its entirety-- a media organisation providing the means for the publication of whistle-blower media and an award-winning journalist with an ethos deeply anchored in human rights activism are being attacked for serving one of the most important functions in a democratic society -- that of mapping the terrain so that we, as active and engaged citizens, can navigate democracy.

We have seen in the WikiLeaks revelations how international politics and diplomacy work. One story for the public, but the reality is very different. We understand this case as politicised and we see that governments in Australia, Sweden, US as well in the UK, are hiding behind "judicial proceedings" trying in public to "wash their hands off" any responsibility but are acting in a political manner.

Behind closed doors they plan, negotiate and agree on a political and diplomatic level the fate of a man whose work they view as damaging to their perceived interests. Bradley Manning's treatment is evident for all to see, his freedom taken his human right trampled upon.

We bring forward into the open the claim that this is a political issue, however it is disguised. Freedom for Information requests come back with very little information in most of the countries involved. We want this to stop. We want transparency in government dealings regarding this case.

To the Ecuadorian Embassy we say, we welcome your consideration of Mr. Assange's asylum request and urge you to accept. We appreciate the bravery your country will show in standing up to defend his human rights.

The UK Government has failed to take a clear position on the plight of Julian Assange, despite there being clear concerns about the manner in which the European Arrest Warrant has been issued and executed and despite there being room for the UK Government to overturn the UK Supreme Court decision. We believe it is most imperative that the safety of Julian Assange and the vital work he engages in are protected.

Yours faithfully,

the Global Friends of WikiLeaks

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