Above photo: Assange extradition protested at Westminster Magistrates Court June 2019. Photo by Gareth Corfield.
In The Time Of COVID, This Is A Matter Of Life And Death.
On the twelve-month anniversary of the release of the US superseding indictment, we call on the Australian government to make diplomatic representations to the US and UK and have Julian Assange released to his family. The US extradition hearing is set to commence on September 7, 2020 due to the Covid epidemic, unreasonably extending Assange’s time in detention to 18 months. Assange is not serving time as a convicted prisoner.
Julian’s father, John Shipton, stated “Julian misses Stella and their kids. He just wants to come home and be with his family. These governments aren’t just punishing Julian for exposing their crimes against humanity, they are pushing us as a family. We are all suffering.”
Australian Assange Campaign adviser, Greg Barns SC said “Given his health conditions, it is reasonable for the family to request that the Australian government make diplomatic representations to ensure Julian is released and safe with his family. This is a matter of life and death and there is a duty of care for any detaining authority to ensure the safety of prisoners and access to adequate medical care – Belmarsh is unable to provide this.”
“Julian is not serving time as a convicted prisoner, there is no valid reason why he can’t be released to his family for the duration of the extradition hearing” Barns said.
Craig Tuck, head of Law Aid International Chambers added “the due process violations, in this case, are extensive. This is not about applying the law. Julian is not being given a fair chance to defend himself.”
Assange’s legal representatives have confirmed that communications with their client have become even more difficult since the commencement of the Covid epidemic. Speaking at a recent hearing, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said ‘We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr. Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.’ Mr. Fitzgerald continued: ‘We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr. Assange and to take his instruction.’
Julian Assange is facing 175 years in a US prison for allegedly publishing evidence of US war crimes.