FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW! – demands High Court protest

21st February 2024 by https://wrp.org.uk/

Supporters of Julian Assange gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday

THE ROYAL Courts of Justice in The Strand in central London were besieged by supporters of Julian Assange from early morning to late afternoon yesterday as the two-day appeal against his extradition to the United States started.

Hundreds of angry demonstrators remained outside all day with banners and placards and they are back today to support the international hero who is being punished for exposing imperialist war crimes.

Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, delivered a poignant statement to the hundreds of supporters gathered outside at lunchtime.

‘The United States has taken a politically motivated prosecution against a journalist because he exposed them committing crimes.

‘The United States is abusing its legal system to hound, intimidate, and prosecute not just Julian but all of you.

‘What are we even entertaining in these courts? How can we entertain anything that is happening in this hearing knowing what we know?

‘Thank you all for coming out in support of Julian. I am moved to know that so many people showed up today for Julian. Julian needs his freedom, and we all need the truth.

‘Every day he is in prison his life is at risk but if he is taken to the United States he will never be a free man again. He will not survive it.

‘The United States want to put him in the deepest, darkest hole of the US prison system for publishing the truth.’

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, faces a potential 175-year sentence if extradited.

The mood outside the court was palpably energetic, with chants of ‘Free Julian Assange!’ and ‘There is only one decision, no extradition!’

Apsana Begum, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse said: ‘This is about whether we value and support press freedom. The charges relating to Assange’s publishing activities must be dropped and the UK authorities must reject any notion of his extradition to the USA.’

Kristin Hrafnsson, the current editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, underscored what is at stake, saying: ‘This is where the future of journalism and the freedom of expression will be decided. Julian Assange has been denied justice for so long, it is about time he received some. This is the moment of truth about the right to tell the truth.’

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington and former Labour Party leader, said: ‘Julian is currently in Belmarsh Prison, a place not conducive to rehabilitation but rather punishing and destroying individuals.

‘Before that, he was in exile in the Ecuadorean embassy, supported by a government that recognised his efforts to expose truths about global injustices, war crimes, and corporate greed.

‘Julian was telling the truth about US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, about corporate greed, and the collusion between media, governments, and militaries to obscure the horrors of war.

‘His prosecution under the Espionage Act is simply appalling. This court today has the opportunity to ensure Julian’s case is heard, his search for justice achieved, and that ultimately, he can walk free.’

An official delegation from Leicester and District Trades Union Council was there with their banner. They told News Line: ‘It is a travesty that he is being threatened with being deported for telling the truth about crimes, especially committed by the US.

‘It’s a trade union issue, supported by the NUJ and other unions and has national and international

support.’