Freedom for Julian Assange

December 17, 2019

In a public statement on November 1st, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, expressed “his alarm at the continued deterioration in the health of Julian Assange since his arrest and detention earlier this year”, stating that his life is now in danger.

In his May report, Melzer stated, in 20 years of working with victims of war, violence and political persecution, he had never seen a group of democratic states unite to isolate, demonize and deliberately abuse an individual for so long and without respecting human dignity or the rule of law. He said this after he met Assange with a specialized medical team at Belmarsh High Security Prison, in London.

One of the conclusions of the team was that the detainee “showed all the typical symptoms of prolonged exposure to psychological torture, extreme stress, chronic anxiety and psychological trauma”.

In June 2012 Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In August, the government of President Rafael Correa granted him political asylum. His inability to leave, as he would be arrested and surely extradited to the United States, made him a prisoner. “The Ecuadorian nationality granted to him in December 2017 was not enough to change his situation.”

On April 11 of this year the new president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, at the request of the U.S. government, withdrew his asylum and nationality. Assange was then handed over to the British authorities who confined him in Belmarsh. Isolated, and without being able to prepare his defense, he is awaiting a trial that will decide his extradition to the United States where under the current charges he could be sentenced up to 175 years in prison.

Assange, editor of WikiLeaks, is accused by Washington of “conspiracy” and “espionage,” having sent many media outlets in the world the “War Diaries.” These are thousands of military and diplomatic documents that expose multiple U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to Melzer “While the U.S. government prosecutes Mr. Assange for publishing information on serious human rights violations, including torture and murder, officials responsible for these crimes continue to enjoy impunity.”

Among others, his work was recognized in 2011 with the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism; the Martha Gellhorn Journalism Award; the Index of Censorship Award; The Economist’s New Media Award; Amnesty International’s New Media Award; and the 2019 Gavin MacFayden Award. WikiLeaks was also nominated in 2015 for the UN Mandela Prize and seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize (2010-2015 and 2019).

A few weeks ago a group of journalists and communicators started a campaign for his freedom. It states, “If the U.S. government can prosecute Julian Assange for publishing classified documents, it will clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere in the world, which would set a dangerous precedent against worldwide press freedom […] In a democracy, it must be possible to reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. That is precisely the role of the press in a democracy.”

To date, not even a thousand journalists have responded to this call and very few human rights organizations have taken the defense of their case seriously.

Why this attitude towards Assange? Special Rapporteur Melzer has an explanation; “After being dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, it was very easy to deprive him of his fundamental rights without provoking the indignation of world public opinion.”

An editorial in Le Monde Diplomatique in December 2018 says; “The persecution of Mr. Assange by the US authorities is encouraged by the cowardice of journalists who have left him to his fate, and even delight in his misfortune.”

Therefore, we, members of the Network in Defense of Humanity and those who would like to join this call, demand respect for due process, non-extradition and the immediate release of Julian Assange. We urge national and international organizations, intellectuals and journalists and their media to put an end to the campaign against this brave human being for the crime of revealing war crimes against humanity. We demand that public opinion be truthfully informed about this terrible violation of his fundamental rights.

As the call from Journalists and Communicators says: “Dangerous times demands courageous journalism.”

Network in Defense of Humanity, December 17, 2019

Executive Secretariat of the Network in Defense of Humanity 

Alicia Jrapko, US
Anarella Vélez, Honduras
Ángel Guerra, Cuba/México
Antonio Elías, Uruguay
Arantxa Tirado, Spain
Ariana López, Cuba
Arnold August, Canadá
Atilio Boron, Argentina
Camille Chalmers, Haití
Carlos Alberto (Beto) Almeida, Brazil
Carmen Bohórquez, Venezuela
Fernando León Jacomino, Cuba
Fernando Buen Abad, México/Argentina
Florencia Lagos, Chile
Gabriela Cultelli, Uruguay
Gilberto Ríos, Honduras
Hernando Calvo Ospina, France
Hildebrando Pérez Grande, Perú
Hugo Moldiz, Bolivia
Irene León, Ecuador
Javier Couso, Spain
Javiera Olivares, Chile
Katu Arkonada, Basque Country/México
Luis Hernández Navarro, México
Marcos Teruggi, Argentina/Venezuela
María Nela Prada, Bolivia
Marilia  Guimaraes, Brazil
Nadia Bambirra, Brazil
Nayar López, México
Omar González, Cuba
Orlando Pérez, Ecuador
Pablo Sepúlveda Allende, Venezuela
Pasqualina Curcio, Venezuela
Paula Klachko, Argentina
Pedro Calzadilla, Venezuela
Ricardo Flecha, Paraguay
Sergio Arria, Venezuela/Argentina
Stella Calloni, Argentina
Tim Anderson, Australia

To add your name to this statement send your complete name and country to: [email protected]

List of people who responded to the call so far, listed by Country

Abril García Mur, Argentina
Aldana Martino, Argentina
Alejo Brignole, Argentina
Ali Mustafá, Argentina
Amilcar Salas Oroño, Argentina
Ana Maria Ramb, Argentina
Andrea Vlahusic, Argentina
Aurelio Narvaja, Argentina
Beatriz Rajland Argentina
Beinusz Szmukler, Argentina
Carlos Aznarez, Argentina
Claudio Katz, Argentina
Cynthia García, Argentina
Daniel Campione, Argentina
Daniel Devita, Argentina
Daniel Feipeler, Argentina
Edgado Esteban, Argentina
Ernesto Mattos, Argentina
Gabo Sequeira, Argentina
Gabriel Merino, Argentina
Germán Leyens, Argentina
Graciela Ramirez, Argentina
Guillermo Wierzba, Argentina
Gustavo Pescceta, Argentina
Héctor Bernardo, Argentina
Héctor Hussein, Argentina
Horacio González, Argentina
Iván Díaz Parra, Argentina
Javier Calderón, . Argentina
Javier Tolcachier, Argentina
Jimmy Herrera, Argentina
Jorge Elbaum, Argentina
Jorge Rachid, Argentina
José Schulman, Argentina
José Seoane, Argentina
Juan Alaimes, Argentina
Juan Francisco Martínez Peria, Argentina
Juan López, Argentina
Juliana Marino, Argentina
Julio Ferrer, Argentina
Julio Gambina, Argentina
Laura Capote, Argentina
Laura Vásquez, Argentina
Lautaro Rivara, Argentina
Liliana Demirdjian, Argentina
Lucrecia Hernández, Argentina
Luis Wainer, Argentina
Magalí Gómez, Argentina
Manuel Santos Iñurrieta, Argentina
Mara Espasande, Argentina
Marcelo Rodríguez, Argentina
María Inés Jorquera, Argentina
Mariana Vázquez, Argentina
Marisa Duarte, Argentina
Martín Ogando, Argentina
Matías Caciabue, Argentina
Miguel Mazzeo, Argentina
Néstor Kohan, Argentina
Nicolás Canosa, Argentina
Paola Gallo, Argentina
Patricia Malanca, Argentina
Paula Ferre, Argentina
Paula Giménez, Argentina
Sebastián Salgado, Argentina
Silvina Romano. Argentina
Tania Ferreira, Argentina
Telma Luzzani, Argentina
Verónica Zapata, Argentina
Vivian Elem, Argentina
Silvia Arana, Argentina
Alex Anfruns, Belgium
Georges Pierseaux, Belgium
Marleen Bosmans, Belgium
Patricia Parga-Vega, Belgium
Yves Pierseaux, Belgium
Rosario Valenzuela, Bolivia
Aurélio Ferandes, Brazil
Carla Ferreira, Brazil
David Motta, Brazil
Eduardo Wagner Ebendinger, Brazil
Elisa Semaneoto, Brazil
Fernando Morais, Brazil
João Ricardo Dornelles, Brazil
Leonardo Boff, Brazil
Luciano Tolla, Brazil
Marcia M. Miranda, Brazil
Marco Schneider, Brazil
Maria Goretti Nagime, Brazil
Maria José Caramez, Brazil
Mathias Seibel Luce, Brazil
Nadia Bambirra, Brazil
Osvaldo Sirota Rotbande, Brazil
Oswaldo Rotband, Brazil
Rose Nogueira, Brazil
Tetê Moraes, Brazil
Tetê Moraes, Brazil
Carlos Eduardo Martins, Brazil
Claudia Chaufan, Canadá
Stephen Kimber, Canadá
Esteban Silva, Chile
Jorge Fuentes, Chile
Karla Díaz, Chile
Paula Vidal Molina, Chile
Roberto Pizarro, Chile
Francisco Villa, Chile
Karla Díaz, Chile
Jorge Fuentes, Chile
Esteban Silva, Chile
Iván Pincheira, Chile
Roberto Pizarro, Chile
Juan Andrés Lagos, Chile
Iván Pincheira, Chile
Fernando Rendón, Colombia
Luis Mayorga, Colombia
Lucy Sánchez, Colombia
Paula Andrea Calvo, Colombia
Nelsón Linares, Colombia
Oto Higuita, Colombia
Segundo Mora, Colombia
Hector Rivera, Colombia
Alex Pausides, Cuba
Arleen Rodriguez Derivet, Cuba
Enrique Ubieta Cuba
Francis Mexidor, Cuba
Francisca (Paquita) Armas Fonseca Cuba
Jorge Ángel Hernádez Pérez Cuba
José Ángel Téllez Villalón, Cuba
Luis Morlote Cuba
Omar Olazabal Cuba
Raúl Capote Fernández Cuba
Vicente Felíu Cuba
Eloisa M.Carrera Varona, Cuba
Mariela Castro Espín, Cuba
Joel Suárez Rodés, Cuba
Raúl Suárez Ramos, Cuba
Bertha Mojena, Cuba
Carlos Tablada Cuba
Iroel Sánchez Cuba
Ana Teresa Napoles Cuba
Pedro Martínez Pírez Cuba
Jorge Legañoa Cuba
Abdón Ubidia, Ecuador
Alejandro Moreano Ecuador
Ana María Larrea Ecuador
Andrés Arauz Ecuador
Argentina Chiriboga Ecuador
Cachito Vera Ecuador
Carlos Viteri Ecuador
Cristian Orosco Ecuador
David Chávez Ecuador
Erika Silva Ecuador
Fidel Narváez, Ecuador
Gabriela Rivadeneira Ecuador
Galo Chiriboga Ecuador
Galo Mora Witt Ecuador
Ilonka Vargas Ecuador
Jenny Londoño Ecuador
Jorge Nuñez Ecuador
José Regato Ecuador
Juan Paz y Miño Ecuador
Julio Peña y Lillo Ecuador
Luis Nawel Ecuador
Mario Ramos Ecuador
Melania Mora Ecuador
Miguel Ruiz Ecuador
Omar Ospina Ecuador
Orlando Pérez Ecuador
Oscar Bonilla Ecuador
Osvaldo León Ecuador
Pablo Guayasamin Ecuador
Pavel Égüez, Ecuador
Pedro Páez Ecuador
Pedro Sassone Ecuador
Pilar Bustos Ecuador
Rafael Quintero Ecuador
Ricardo Patiño Ecuador
Ricardo Sánchez Ecuador
Ricardo Ulcuango Ecuador
Sally Burch Ecuador
Tania Hermida Ecuador
Xavier Lasso Ecuador
Carol Murillo, Ecuador
Amauri Chamorro, Ecuador
Alejandro Moreano, Ecuador.
Pascual Serrano, Spain
Salvador López Arnal, Spain
Ignacio Ramonet, Spain
James Petras, US
Banbose Shango, US
Bill Hackwell, US
Cheryl LaBash, US
Christopher Helali, US
Gayle McLaughlin, US
H. Bruce Franklin, US
Jane Franklin, US
Medea Benjamin, US
Nalda Vigezzi, US
Netfa Freeman, US
Noam Chomsky, US
Paul Teitelbaum, US
Peter Phillips, US
Piero Gleijeses, US
Ramon Gorsfoguel, US
Rick Sterling, US
Roger D. Harris, US
James Early, US
Paul Larudee, US
Jean Ortiz, France
Maxime Vivas, France
Nicolas Marielle, France
Maurizio Fratta, France
Christophe Ventura, France
Juliette Combes, France
Roman Migus, France
Hélène Vaucelle, France
Antonio Cuesta, France
Alma Masè, Italy
Liliana Pajola, Italy
Mario Fucci, Italy
Roberto Casella, Italy
Fabio Faina, Italy
Annamaria Scarficcia, Italy
Giuliano Valeriani, Italy
Ana Serena Bertolucci, Italy
Donatella Murtas, Italy
Enrique Saccarrelli, Italy
Marco Francalancia, Italy
Marco Papacci, Italy
Raffaele Milano, Italy
Piero Gamaitoni, Italy
Rosalia Alessi, Italy
Rosella Franconi, Italy
Donatella Murtas, Italy
Walter Persello, Italy
Geraldina Colotti, Italy
Joël Wunsch, Luxemburg
Ivano Iogna, Luxemburg
Adalberto Santana México
Alicia Castellanos México
Beatriz Stolowicz, México
Carlos Fazio, México
Cesar Andrade, México
Gilberto López y Rivas México
Hugo Iván Aguilar, México
Isabel Sanginés México
José Miguel Candia, México
Marco Velázquez México
Miguel Concha Malo, México
John Saxe-Fernández, México
JohnM. Ackerman, México
Teresa Castro Escudero, México
Roberto Herrera Carassou, México
Zulay Saxe Castro, México
Márgara Millán, México
Servando Gajá, México
Berta Luján, México
Arturo Alcalde, México
Consuelo Sánchez, México
Guillermo Zamora, México
Raúl Diaz, México
José Steinsleger, México
Gloria Serrato México
Patricia Kuri México
Xadeni Méndez México
Blanca Montoya México
José Manzaneda, País Vasco
Ivana Belén Ruiz Estramil, Basque Country
Maria Torrellas, Basque Country/Argentina
Techi Cusmanich Paraguay
Bruno Portuguez, Perú
Delfina Paredes, Perú
Eduardo Arroyo, Perú
Fanny Palacios Izquierdo, Perú
Federico García, Perú
Francisco Adriazén, Perú
Gustavo Espinoza, Perú
Héctor Béjar Rivera, Perú
José Luis Ayala, Perú
Juan Cristóbal, Perú
Manuel Robles, Perú
Pilar Roca, Perú
Rosina Valcárcel, Perú
Vicente Otta, Perú
Winston Orrillo, Perú
Atilio Bonilla, Perú
Julio Dagnino, Perú
Alaín Elías, Perú
Margot Palomino, Perú
Milagros Rivera Pérez, Puerto Rico
Francisco Dominguez, UK
Fernando Peña, Dominican Republic
Fidelina de la Rosa, Dominican Republic
Nelly Chalas, Dominican Republic
María Jesús Pola, Dominican Republic
Elizabeth Zorrilla, Dominican Republic
José Guzmán, Dominican Republic
Manuel María Mercedes, Dominican Republic
Syra Taveras, Dominican Republic
Gloria Peralta, Dominican Republic
Dick Emanuelsson, Sweeden/Honduras
Samuel Wanitsch, Switzerland
Inés Gerardo, Switzerland
Alejandro (Pacha) Sánchez, Uruguay
Andrés Correa, Uruguay
Andrés Delgado, Uruguay
Ángel Vera, Uruguay
Carlos Alejandro, Uruguay
Carlos Pita, Uruguay
Daniel Esteves, Uruguay
Daniela de Polsi, Uruguay
Daniela Neves, Uruguay
Edgard Oyenart, Uruguay
Eduardo Merniers, Uruguay
Ernesto Agazzi, Uruguay
Fernanda Cousillas, Uruguay
Fernando Pereira, Uruguay
Gabriel Molina, Uruguay
Hector Tajam, Uruguay
Inés Cortés, Uruguay
Isabel Andreoni, Uruguay
Jorge Notaro, Uruguay
José A. Bayardi Lozano, Uruguay
José Díaz, Uruguay
Juan Raúl Ferreira, Uruguay
León Lev, Uruguay
Luis Vignolo, Uruguay
Marcelo Abdala, Uruguay
Marina Cultelli, Uruguay
Martin Delgado, Uruguay
Michel Martínez, Uruguay
Miriam Gómez, Uruguay
Naguy Marcilla, Uruguay
Néstor Bodhan, Uruguay
Nicolás Centurión, Uruguay
Nicolás Mederos, Uruguay
Nicolás Revetria, Uruguay
Oscar Andrade, Uruguay
Patricia Ayala, Uruguay
Raúl F. Sendic Rodriguez, Uruguay
Sandra Lazo, Uruguay
Sebastián Hagobian, Uruguay
Soledad López, Uruguay
Sonia Acosta, Uruguay
Victoria Alfaro, Uruguay
Alma Espino, Uruguay
Kintto Lucas, Uruguay / Ecuador
Ali Ramón Rojas Olaya Venezuela
Félix Caballero, Venezuela
Ivan Padilla Bravo, Venezuela
Yhonny García Calles, Venezuela
Nayaurí Jiménez Venezuela
Patricia Villegas Venezuela
Juan Romero, Venezuela
Alfredo Viloria, Venezuela
Astolfo Sangronis, Venezuela
Luis Britto Garcia, Venezuela
Mario Sanoja, Venezuela
Iraida Vargas, Venezuela
Judith Valencia Venezuela
Maria Alcira Matute Venezuela
Xavier Sarabia Mariche Venezuela
Cristhian Valle Venezuela
Manuel Azuaje Venezuela
Roger Landa Venezuela