On the occasion of the screening of the documentary “Ithaca – the battle to free Julian Assange” as part of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the special screening organized in Athens by Meta – Center for a Post-Capitalist Culture, the Greek public had the opportunity to meet Stella Moris Assange, Julian’s lawyer and wife.
The most prominent political prisoner of our time, Julian Assange has been in the Belmarsh maximum security prison in Britain for four years, awaiting extradition to the United States. There he faces a sentence of 175 years. The “crime” for which Julian is suffering this slow death was his courageous contribution to exposing war crimes and government corruption by the world’s powerful. The Wikileaks founder’s defense is currently the leading international freedom of information battle.
Both screenings, in Thessaloniki and Athens, attracted the interest of the audience, as the theaters were full. In particular, the screening in TRIANON far exceeded the number of seats, so much so that the theater owners had to bring in chairs, while many people were sitting on the floor. The documentary was shot over the course of two years and incorporates archival footage and previously unseen parts. Its creator, Ben Lawrence, focuses on the “odyssey” of John Shipton, a retired construction worker and Julian’s father, as he attempts to save his son, traveling through Europe with Stella Assange, activating solidarity networks, lobbying political leaders and communicating the case.
The documentary also includes several phone conversations from Julian’s family and personal life of Julian’s family. In the discussion after the screening, Stella Assange said she avoids watching the screenings because she is not happy with the displaying of their family moments. However, the production of the documentary is a means for the case to reach a wider audience and raise awareness. People in the audience showed their support by shouting slogans for Assange’s release and warmly applauding Stella Assange for her courage, strength and patience.
As said by Yanis Varoufakis, secretary general of MEP25, who accompanied Stella Assange in discussions with the audience, Julian is a founding member of DiEM25 and had also appeared by video at the movement’s inaugural event at the Foxbone Theatre in Berlin in 2016. Pressenza actively participated in the two events that took on a pan-European character in October 2022 and January 2023, and from the beginning published articles about Assange’s ordeal and the importance of his and the Wikileaks team’s work.
Photo of the event in Athens, Evita Paraskevopoulou, Pressenza.