Letter: In a just world, Assange would be a free man

Published: 9/11/2020 12:01:20 AM
Modified: 9/11/2020 12:01:08 AM

The extradition trial of Julian Assange has begun, and is receiving almost zero coverage in the United States. Assange has been held in the U.K.’s notorious Belmarsh Prison at the behest of the United States because he published truthful information about war crimes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange is guilty only of doing what journalism is supposed to do: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Publishing relevant, truthful information about important events is what journalists are supposed to do.

Thirty-six members of the European Parliament have called for Assange to be released from Belmarsh on press freedom and humanitarian grounds. Several NGOs have been vocal about Assange’s case within the last year, including Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Courage Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. A total of 40 human rights groups recently signed an open letter urging Assange’s release.

A U.N. special rapporteur found evidence that Assange may have been tortured. In June, 216 doctors from 33 countries wrote to the Lancet protesting what they called the “torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.”

The extradition trial now underway is a show trial. Assange’s treatment is a warning to journalists everywhere about publishing the truth about what we in the United States do to other countries. If it can happen to Assange, it can happen to anyone. In a just world, Assange would be a free man, and some of our own leaders would be in the dock.

BRUCE CURRIE

Concord




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