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Friday, February 5, 2016

John Pilger Explains Washington’s Incarceration of Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London





 John Pilger Explains Washington’s Incarceration of Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London


Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

5 February 2016

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One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations - has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

After five years of fighting to clear his name - having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime - Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the refuge granted him by the Ecuadorean government in its London embassy.

In previous, celebrated cases ruled upon by the Working Group - Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran - both Britain and Sweden have given support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange's persecution and confinement endures in the heart of London.

The Assange case has never been primarily about allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. The Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the case, saying, "I don't believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape" and one of the women involved accused the police of fabricating evidence and "railroading" her, protesting she "did not want to accuse JA of anything". A second prosecutor mysteriously re-opened the case after political intervention, then stalled it.

The Assange case is rooted across the Atlantic in Pentagon-dominated Washington, obsessed with pursuing and prosecuting whistleblowers, 
especially Assange for having exposed, in WikiLeaks, US capital crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of civilians and a contempt for sovereignty and international law.  None of this truth-telling is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as "part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal".
 
Obama, the betrayer,  has since prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the US presidents combined. The courageous Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison, having been tortured during her long pre-trial detention.


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At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

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