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UK: Campaign launched across labour movement in solidarity with jailed journalist Julian Assange

Friday 5 June 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/campaign-launched-across-labour-movement-solidarity-jailed-journalist-julian-assange

Friday, June 5, 2020

Campaign launched across labour movement in solidarity with jailed journalist Julian Assange

A NEW campaign is being launched across the labour movement to show solidarity with imprisoned Wikileaks founderJulian Assange and demand an end to extradition proceedings.

Mr Assange, whose extradition hearing is due to resume in September, has been denied bail and campaigners are increasingly concerned at his declining health.

Birmingham Trades Union Council is the latest trade-union body to demand his release, and Don’t Extradite Assange is now asking unions, labour party bodies and campaigns across the movement to do the same.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has already adopted a comprehensive and hard-hitting position which points out that Mr Assange faces up to 175 years in a US prison for making important information available to the public.

His extradition would set a dangerous precedent for the persecution of journalists, the union says.

“This is the defining free-speech case of the 21st century,” Don’t Extradite Assange’s John Rees said.

“Freedom of information, free from government censorship, is the lifeblood of an effective labour movement.

“The NUJ have made a stand. Follow their example”

The NUJ’s resolution (below) is available at dontextraditeassange.com

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National Union of Journalists’ resolution notes:

1. That WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is held in Belmarsh prison awaiting United States extradition proceedings, a process that can take many years.

2. If Assange is successfully prosecuted in the US he faces 175 years in prison.

3. That the extraterritorial application of the Espionage Act in the indictment of Assange criminalises journalistic activities, in this case activities carried out on UK soil by a non-US national, in collaboration with numerous UK media (including The Guardian, Channel 4 and The Telegraph).

4. That previous statements by the General Secretary of the NUJ, by the Australian Journalists Union MEAA, and by the International Federation of Journalists’ organisations have supported Assange.

5. That there is a political dimension to extraditions and that the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US makes the extradition of Assange more likely to go ahead.

Believes:

1. That Assange’s indictment comes at a time of heightened threats to the press in Western countries in the form of raids on newspapers and broadcasters, government claims that the press are ‘the enemy of the people’, and actual prosecutions involving life-long sentences for publishing accurately.

2. That Assange’s extradition to the United States would establish a dangerous precedent with regard to the prosecution of journalists in this country under the UK Official Secrets Act given the requirement for the UK courts to accept US arguments as to dual criminality for the extradition to go ahead.

3. That press freedoms in this country will be weakened if the courts accept that NUJ members’ publishing activities in this country can give rise to criminal liability in foreign states and to their consequent lawful extradition.

4. That the publication of the Afghan and Iraq war logs and other material by WikiLeaks that are the subject of the US indictment revealed important information that has benefitted the public.

5. Disclosing information to the public should never be equated with espionage

Resolves:

1. To campaign to stop the extradition of Julian Assange to the US.

2. To write to the Home Secretary, the Shadow Home Secretary, and the Shadow Justice Secretary making the union’s case on this issue.