Julian Assange before UK High Court – urgent action needed!

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will appear before the British High Court on 20 and 21 February, for a final appeal against his extradition to the United States. The Australian citizen faces 175 years in prison for press crimes, under the notorious ‘Espionage Act‘ of 1917. Julian has been in prison for 12 years now: first 7 years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and then for almost 5 years now in the high security prison of London Belmarsh. Being deprived of any communication means to the outside world, his wife Stella Assange and international observers indicate that his health is deteriorating steadily under imprisonment. Whoever thinks that in the US he should face a ‘fair trial’, should be reminded of the 2021 Yahoo!News revelations about the US intelligence plans to kidnap and Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017 and eliminate him.

In 2019, following Assange’s detention in Belmarsh, we formed a local group in Leuven to campaign for his immediate release. His persecution transcends his person, and is equally an attack on press freedom. It shows the world how western imperialism seeks to target whistleblowers and journalists who want to expose war crimes, corruption and abuse of power. Chelsea Manning was also jailed after her revelations, and Edward Snowden had to flee to avoid a jail sentence.

In 2020, our citizens’ initiative demanded the city of Leuven to make Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange honorary citizens and to speak out against Assange’s detention and persecution. Our city council hid behind all sorts of fallacies and maneuvers in order not to respond to our request. Meanwhile, more than 10 Italian cities did pass a motion in support of Julian Assange (including Rome, which made him an honorary citizen).

The Collateralmurder video and the revelations about the crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan were at the root of Wikileaks’ worldwide fame, and the press organization’s many awards for their ground-breaking journalistic work. With genocide in Gaza, and a new escalation of war violence looming in the Middle East, the fight for Assange’s release is all the more urgent. His prosecution is for the US not only a means to cover up not only their past but also their present and future war crimes.

What can we do for Julian Assange NOW?

  • On Saturday 10 February, we are organizing a letter-writing campaign for Assange at café Concorde, from 3pm to 5pm. We will brainstorm there about a public stand to get published in a Belgian newspaper and prepare reader letters to be sent to Humo and other daily and weekly newspapers. Online participation possible via zoom.
  • On Tuesday 20 February, we will attend the demonstration in front of the US embassy in Brussels, at 10 am. On that day, there are worldwide demonstrations for Assange’s release.