This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
IN THE mirror-world which is the Julian Assange case, justice is neither transparent nor impartial. And it is certainly not swift.
Assange is now in his third year of detention in Belmarsh High Security prison. He has not been convicted of anything. His case has not yet staggered from the Magistrate’s Court, the lowest court in the land, to the Appeal Court. It has never and will never appear before a jury.
Last week two High Court judges, in a hearing about what will be allowed to be appealed by the United States government when the full appeal is heard on October 27-28 , decided that the previous High Court judge and the magistrate in the Magistrate’s Court were wrong to rule that the US could not raise, once again, questions about Assange’s mental condition and assurances that the US prison system is really a health spa in which Assange will be under no risk of suicide.
No doubt if they are denied a success at appeal the US will find more ways to keep Assange under lock and key in what is now amounting to punishment by process. Indeed, some years ago the right-wing US think tank Stratfor recommended exactly this tactic to the government in the Assange case.
This is an effective denial of Habeas Corpus, the legal principle that citizens cannot be imprisoned without trial for long periods. It is a process which is an abuse of the law.
If Assange were ever to be extradited, far worse than this would follow: lengthy pre-trial detention in a system designated as “oppressive” by the judge at Westminster Magistrate’s Court whose ruling against extradition is being appealed on October 27-28. And then a possible 175-year sentence if he is found guilty.
And for what? Telling the truth about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So there is a deep irony that this prosecution is taking place across the same time period that the US lost control of Afghanistan and was forced to withdraw in the face of revitalised Taliban.
If only the justice system in London could hear the Assange case with the same speed that the Taliban took Kabul.
But for now all eyes must be focused on the appeal at the High Court at the end of October. Public pressure is the only thing that can end the deliberate, punitive incarceration of Assange. The entire labour movement and progressive left must rise to the occasion. This is, when all is said and done, the most important press freedom case of the 21st century.
John Rees is a national officer of the Stop the War Coalition, an academic and writer — Twitter @JohnWRees.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £10 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.