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UK High Court judges to review Assange extradition case on Feb 20 – www.cairnsnews.org

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By Alison Bevege

The process-torture of Julian Assange is coming to an ugly head.

Julian Assange should be released from UK’s Belmarsh Prison immediately on humanitarian grounds but Australian PM Albanese has deserted him

On Tuesday and Wednesday next week, February 20 and 21, two UK High Court judges will review his case.

If he loses, he will be sent to the US, possibly immediately and most likely to his death.

If he wins, he can continue to fight the extradition in the UK courts.

His lawyers have also applied to the European Court of Human Rights in the hopes that it could block the extradition, Reuters reports.

Australia’s parliament officially recognised the importance of ending Julian’s extradition, voting 86 to 42 in support of a motion raised by independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Assange, a father of two young children, is the greatest journalist of our age.

That is why he has been locked up in a maximum-security prison, warehoused in Belmarsh with the UK’s worst murderers and terrorists, for years.

Assange is in prison because he founded Wikileaks and shamed the US State Department by publishing evidence of crimes they had covered up, such as the US military murder of unarmed Reuters journalists in Iraq, 2007.

The US security state wants him flown to America to face a possible 175 years in prison for 18 charges “related to illegally obtaining, receiving and disclosing classified information” over Wikileaks’ publishing.

In other words, for journalism. Documents of great public significance were leaked to Wikileaks and after careful consideration and redactions, Wikileaks published them.

Assange has broken more world-changing stories than the New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald and Guardian combined, a thousand times over.

He did it by inventing a secure digital dropbox that allowed whistleblowers to safely share the secrets of the powerful, anonymously.

For this, Assange and Wikileaks won the 2011 Walkley Award, Australia’s highest media honour, for their outstanding contribution to journalism.

Assange and Wikileaks are champions of the public, opening governments to real scrutiny and transparency.

Human rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday that if Assange were taken, the US government could extradite publishers and journalists it didn’t like from anywhere – and other countries would follow suit.

It would become a legal precedent for extraditing and imprisoning any journalist or publisher anywhere in the world who shares information with the public that the US doesn’t like. 

Amnesty spokeswoman Julia Hall said these efforts to intimidate and silence investigative journalists must be stopped.

Julian’s wife Stella said her husband had found that lawlessness, hypocrisy and corruption abound when you come up against the interests of the intelligence-security sector.

“It will break every law,” she told UK journalist Andrew Gold on Heretics on Tuesday.

“He’s not even American, he’s Australian,” she said.

“He’s got nothing to do with the US except he exposed their crimes.”

The persecution of Assange is one more ugly shadow marking the rise of global fascism, dirtying up our once-treasured rule of law.

Stella Assange said public shows of support are crucial to saving Julian.

She has asked that anyone in London show up to the hearing if they can get there.

There are plenty of protests and activities in Australia also, here are a few:

Sydney concert and fundraiser: Saturday 17 February 5pm, at The Gaelic Club, Surry Hills, $27.78 tickets on Eventbrite.

Stella Assange’s website has a list of all the protests worldwide.

It lists the following for Australia:

SYDNEY:

Martin Place Train Station Elizabeth st. 20 Feb. 7:30am.
US Consulate. 50 Miller st. North Sydney, 21 Feb. noon.
Sydney Town Hall, 21 Feb. 5pm.
Twitter: @assangesydney

MELBOURNE:

UK Consulate 20 Feb. 12:30 PM & overnight candle vigil from 5pm
US Consulate 21 Feb. 12:30pm & overnight candle vigil from 5pm
Email: melb4assange@protonmail.com // Twitter : @melbourne4wiki // Instagram: melbourne4assange
Group name: Assange Vigil Melbourne // Twitter: @lorinebrice

PERTH:

Forrest Place 20 Feb. noon.
Group name: perth4assange // Twitter : @perth4assange

ADELAIDE:

Penny Wong’s Office, 19 Gouger st.
20 Feb. 4:30PM.
Adelaide For Assange // Email: adelaideforassange@gmail.com // Twitter: @ForAdelaide
Another group in Australia: assangefreedom.network

FOR AUSSIE JOURNALISTS

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (journalists’ union) is holding a briefing on Friday February 16 at 8am AEDT via Zoom, with Stella Assange, human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Wikileaks editor-in-chief, Kristin Hrafnsson, and Rebecca Vincent, director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Register here for the one-hour briefing if you are a MEAA member.

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