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Stella Assange: ‘The World Is Watching’ Assange Extradition Hearing

Above photo: (L-R) Gabriel Shipton, protester, Stella Assange, Ben Westwood, protester, Craig Murray and John Shipton attend the rally for Julian Assange on February 21, 2024 in London, England. Dave Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Stella Assange speaks outside the courthouse following the extradition hearing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom has reached a crucial turning point as the London High Court reviews his request to appeal extradition to the US, where Assange faces numerous charges under the Espionage Act. The Real News reports from London, where supporters of Assange mobilized to demand his freedom.

Transcript

The following is a rushed transcript and may contain errors. A proofread version will be made available as soon as possible.

Speaker 1: Free Assange!

Police: Go on back! Keep moving! Keep moving!

Protester: Are you ready to march for freedom of speech?

Speaker 1: Yeah. Julian Assange will be free.

Stella Assange: You guys are amazing. Not just the turnout this evening, coming here to Downing Street, but also over the past 48 hours. It’s been incredible. Every time I got to court, I was greeted by this incredible supportive crowd that was cheering Assange. And I told Julian all about how much support he has and also how much attention the media has given this case this time around.

The world is watching. And finally, there’s a realization about what this is really about, which is an attack on the truth, an attack on the public’s right to know. And a country’s attempt to further their impunity and their coverups and continue to kill with impunity, without the threat of a media that will scrutinize them, of a public that will demand change. That cannot stand.

Everything turns on the outcome of this case. Whether states can criminalize journalism and put journalists in prison like they’ve been doing in the UK with an Australian citizen; a publisher who’s won many, many awards for his journalism and they’ve stuck him in the deepest, darkest hole of the UK prison system. And the US threatens to put him in the deepest, darkest hole of the US prison system for 175 years. Shame.

Julian’s imprisonment is a result of people with too much power, who lost the plot, who got power thirsty and are guilty. They know they’re guilty, and they want to continue to live their lives without any consequences for the crimes they’ve committed. This case is about whether state crimes can continue unpunished, unscrutinized. Julian’s freedom is the only antidote.

We don’t have a decision today. Julian’s life is at severe risk every single day he is in prison. He is a political prisoner; he is the world’s most famous political prisoner. We know what happened to the other most famous political prisoner last week. That cannot happen to Julian. It cannot be allowed to happen.The world is watching. Julian has to be freed.

Now whatever happens in the coming days, we can’t know. But we can know that we will be there for Julian and be there for our own democracy, our own future, our own ability to change policy, to change decisions, to change governments. Because if there’s no scrutiny, we can’t be informed. We can’t be able to make an informed decision about who we elect.

Our rights are at stake, but Julian’s life is at stake. If he is extradited, he will lose his life. He will be killed. He will be killed by the country that has been plotting his assassination. And the court heard how the United States, under the previous administration, which may be the next administration, had plotted to assassinate him, who had plotted to poison him, who had plotted to kidnap him, who had plotted to rendition him. Shame.

Speaker 1: Shame!

Stella Assange: Shame on those who put journalists in prison. Shame on those who murder journalists. Shame on those who are afraid of the truth. That’s not a society I want to live in. We’re better than that.

The UK courts are also under scrutiny. They have heard about the murder plots against my husband. They’re on notice that the country that is trying to extradite him has planned to murder him. They don’t deny it. They just change the subject.

The whole time we were in court, the other side somehow avoided to talk about what the documents Julian published revealed. They didn’t talk about the war crimes. They didn’t talk about the 15,000 civilian killings in Iraq that were revealed. They didn’t talk about their torture and rendition for all program. They didn’t talk about Guantanamo Bay. They simply changed the subject. Shame.

Speaker 1: Shame!

Stella Assange: This case is brought by criminals who want to maintain their impunity, who want to avoid the courts. They are the fugitives from justice, not Julian. Julian is justice. He is transparency. He is us. He is the public. And as long as Julian remains in prison, we are all in prison and they are free. It cannot be.

Speaker 1: Free Assange!

Stella Assange: Free Assange.

Speaker 1: Free Assange!

Stella Assange: Be there for Julian. He would be there for you. He is there for you. He needs to be free. Free Assange!

Speaker 1: Free Assange!

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