Julian Assange, has now spent over 1,200 days in a maximum-security prison. If we consider the date of June 19, 2012, when he first sought Ecuador’s protection from the very charges he now faces, he has now been deprived of his liberty for over 10 years.
With this in mind, we’re writing to stress the importance of continued pressure in our news reports and broadcasts, including asking our representatives what is being done to bring this situation to an end.
In light of this, you are probably aware of the positive development that a number of US citizens – lawyers and journalists who worked with Assange – recently sued the Central Intelligence Agency and its former director Mike Pompeo in the Southern District of New York.
We want to provide a little more information. The plaintiffs are US lawyers Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbeck; German-American journalist John Goetz; and British-American journalist Charles Glass. They allege Pompeo and the CIA breached their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, protecting against illegal search and seizure.
This was, they allege, performed on the CIA’s behalf by the Spanish security firm UC Global and its founder David Morales – both also listed as defendants in the complaint.
Thanks to the reporting of Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter, it has also been confirmed that Judge John Koeltl has been assigned to preside over the case. Positively, as Kevin reports, Koeltl previously ruled in favour of Assange and WikiLeaks in 2019 when the Democratic National Committee tried to hold them liable for publishing its emails three years earlier.
Meanwhile, Assange’s lawyers in the UK have since submitted their ‘perfected grounds of appeal’ in order to challenge the ruling of Home Secretary Priti Patel, as well as the original ruling of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January 2021.
As earlier reported by Tareq, the defence are submitting appeals on 16 separate grounds. Once the prosecution on behalf of the US government makes their points in response, the British High Court will hold a preliminary hearing to decide which points can in fact be raised at an appeal – the ruling on which can be further challenged before the substantive elements of the appeal begin.
It appears there will be many months of court proceedings ahead. It’s a crucial time to keep public attention on the issue.
With this in mind, please note that on 1pm on Saturday, 8 October, activists will be forming a human chain around the British Parliament in protest of Assange’s continuing imprisonment. Nearly 2,500 people have now signed up. More information is available here for those interested.
Finally, welcome to those of you who’ve just joined us. We are glad to report there are now upwards of 2,000 of us here speaking up for Julian Assange.
Serena, Nicky and Tareq
International journalists’ statement in defence of Julian Assange: