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Free-press advocates protest Assange's jailing outside Belmarsh prison

Labour's Chris Williamson told protesters called the imprisonment a ‘travesty and an outrage’

JULIAN ASSANGE’S supporters rallied outside Belmarsh prison in London on Saturday, where the WikiLeaks founder is currently being held.

The protest, which had young children in attendance, heard chants of “Free, free Julian Assange” and “No extradition,” while some banners read: “Hands off Assange” and “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

 

 

Demonstrators marched to the entrance of the high-security prison where speeches and musical performances were made.

Speaking at the protest, Labour MP Chris Williamson said that the campaign to defend Mr Assange was “truly important” in order to defend freedom of speech.

He called the imprisonment of someone who had provided “a crucial international public service” a “travesty and an outrage.”

Mr Williamson said: “Here we have a situation where someone who we should be celebrating is facing solitary confinement, which is tantamount to torture taking place on British soil. This cannot be allowed to stand.

“We have a moral duty to fight on behalf of Julian Assange, whose only crime is to expose war crimes by the US and the abuse of state powers.”

Mr Williamson called on more parliamentarians to support Mr Assange and raise the issue in Commons.

An award ceremony was also held to honour the whistleblower facing extradition to the US with the Gavin MacFadyen Award for “extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice in the service of the truth.”

Mr Assange’s father, John Shipton, received the award on behalf of his son before visiting him in jail.

Mr Shipton previously said it was “extraordinary” that his son was being kept in such harsh prison conditions.

“The only people who are breaking the law are the UK government and the crown prosecution service,” he said.

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