On 12 May, peace activist Maria Gallastegui sprayed ‘Priti Patel Save Julian Assange’ on the wall of Belmarsh high-security prison where Assange is being held. She used a drill in a mock break-out attempt as a protest over Assange’s pending extradition.
To prevent any confusion, Maria had a placard saying ‘Jailbreak in progress’. She was taken into custody and held for four hours.
Journalists and free speech groups from around the world have called on the home secretary, Priti Patel, not to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in prison for his journalism.
Assange should just be released.
That was the message of an open letter sent to Patel on 23 April, signed by 18 groups including: ARTICLE 19, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship, Britain’s National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the writers’ freedom of expression group, PEN International.
Assange has been charged by the US under the espionage act for publishing classified documents exposing war crimes.
As we reported before, Assange’s supporters believe his extradition should be halted in part because of the Yahoo! News investigation which found that senior officials in the CIA and in the Trump administration discussed kidnapping or killing Assange in 2017. (PN 2658)
In January 2021, a judge at the Old Bailey rejected the US request for extradition.
In December 2021, a judge at the high court overturned this decision.
On 14 March, the supreme court refused to hear Assange’s appeal, leaving the final decision with the home secretary, Priti Patel.
On 23 March, Assange was at last permitted to marry his partner Stella, with whom he has two young children.
In May, the Committee to Defend Julian Assange launched a UK-wide door-to-door leafleting campaign. They say: ‘Inform your friends and neighbours about this extraordinary case of state and judicial corruption and the relentless persecution of a journalist for publishing evidence of state crimes.’