Julian Assange

1 August 2022News

Human chain action in London planned for 8 October

On 17 June, the home secretary, Priti Patel, signed the order for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the US to face 17 counts under the US Espionage Act. His ‘crime’ was receiving and publishing secret US military documents containing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. If found guilty of all the charges, Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years.

Assange, who has appealed, remains in solitary confinement in Belmarsh high-security prison where…

1 August 2022Review

Verso, 2022; 368pp; £20

Opening with a quote from the lawyer Otto Gritschneder – ‘Those who sleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship’ – Nils Melzer notes that his new book is intended as ‘an urgent appeal… a wake up call to the general public.’

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture from 2016 until March 2022, Melzer provides a damning indictment of the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador for their treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Writing in methodical and accessible language, he…

1 June 2022News

Campaign launches UK-wide door-to-door leafleting campaign

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…

1 February 2022News

Senior CIA officials discussed kidnapping or killing Wikileaks editor

On 24 January, the high court in London decided that Julian Assange can appeal to the supreme court to continue fighting extradition on 18 counts of ‘espionage’.

The US government has asked for Assange’s extradition because of his work at WikiLeaks. In 2010, WikiLeaks publicised documents leaked by Chelsea Manning exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A district judge at Westminster magistrates’ court ruled in January 2021 that the extradition should not go ahead…

1 August 2021News in Brief

A Thames river protest boat ride, a picnic outside parliament, and a cake-cutting outside Belmarsh prison were some of the ways that Don’t Extradite Assange (DEA) and the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) marked the 50th birthday of imprisoned journalist Julian Assange on 3 July.

On 29 June, Labour MPs Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn handed in a cross-party letter at Belmarsh prison about the refusal of the authorities to allow MPs an online video meeting with…

4 July 2021News

Wikileaks founder denied bail pending US appeal

On 4 January, district judge Vanessa Baraitser, sitting at the central criminal court in London, refused an application for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage.

However, the judge also ruled that Assange would have committed an offence under UK law if the acts complained about by the US had taken place in the UK. Judge Baraitser refused extradition on the grounds that Assange would be a suicide risk if extradited. 

Two days…

11 December 2020News

Verdict in Assange extradition trial expected 4 January

On 7 November, police arrested four people at the socially-distanced weekly vigil for Julian Assange in Piccadilly Circus, using new COVID-related powers granted on 3 November.

Earlier, on 3 October, police exceeded the powers they possessed at that time by dispersing the vigil. On that occasion, there were 18 people expressing solidarity with the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder.

Twice that many police were on hand, and they arrested four demonstrators, presumably to encourage the…

10 December 2020News

WikiLeaks exposed ‘grave violations of law’, court told

On 7 September, Julian Assange faced a new extradition hearing in London, set to last four weeks.

The US had been demanding his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified US diplomatic and military documents – because of his work with WikiLeaks.

If found guilty on all charges, Julian could face up to 175 years in jail.

Clive Stafford-Smith, founder of the legal charity Reprieve, told the court that documents published by…

8 December 2020News

Extradition hearing to take place on 24 February

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing is scheduled for 24 February at Woolwich crown court in South London.

The investigative journalist was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy last April, having spent seven years there after claiming asylum to avoid possible extradition to the US via Sweden.

Sexual assault charges Julian was facing in Sweden have since been dropped, but he has been kept in Belmarsh high security prison because of an extradition request…

1 December 2019News

Doctors fear for Assange's health

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day, when activists are encouraged to write to people imprisoned around the world for refusing to fight or for campaigning against war.

This year, we have highlighted the imprisonment of US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At risk

As we went to press, there were reports that Julian Assange’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

More than 60 doctors wrote an open letter expressing their fear…

1 October 2019News in Brief

There are strict rules, but you can write letters (not cards) to these two political prisoners.

Please write (using white paper only!) to the US whistleblower:

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, A0181426, William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, 2001 Mill Road Alexandria, VA 22314, USA.
(No cards, postcards, photocopies, books, magazines or cash, and no decorations on the – white – envelope!) More info: www.xychelsea.is.

Please…

1 June 2019News

Assange faces 175 years in prison as Manning reimprisoned

Julian Assange, London, 2014. Photo: david G Silvers [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Julian Assange is facing 175 years in prison for his investigative journalism if he is extradited to the US and convicted of the 18 charges filed against him by the US government.

Meanwhile, US whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed on 16 May for refusing (for a second time) to give evidence against the WikiLeaks founder.

Assange is being charged under the US Espionage Act 1917, mainly for obtaining…

1 December 2015Review

Taken out of context, some of the revelations drawn from the US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks sound improbable and even a bit like a conspiracy theory. Meanwhile, many of the issues highlighted in this book, – human rights abuses for instance – have already been widely reported on in the press.

So at first I was a bit doubtful about the value of this book. But in fact its purpose is not to publish secrets. Rather, it is to show what we can learn from these cables as…

1 June 2015Review

The internet has been transformed from a tool of emancipation ‘into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen’. Thus wrote Julian Assange* in his 2012 introduction to Cypherpunks, an eye-opening annotated transcript of a conversation between the Wikileaks founder and three other prominent internet activists.

At that time, such a claim might have appeared hyperbolic. However, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s 2013 exposure of the global surveillance…