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HUNDREDS of journalists from across the world have signed an open letter demanding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is released from jail, where he is being held for “revealing war crimes.”
Mr Assange continues to be detained in Britain’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison, despite his 50-week sentence for “skipping bail” ending in September.
It was extended with the state deeming him to be “a flight risk.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed papers in June allowing for his extradition to the United States, where he faces charges under the draconian Espionage Act.
This relates to the publication of a series of videos and leaked cables exposing corruption and war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and elsewhere.
He faces a potential 175-year sentence if found guilty.
Signatories, including veteran investigative journalist John Pilger, who has led the campaign for Mr Assange’s freedom, warn that his continued detention is an attack on freedom of speech.
Despite this, his case has failed to be taken up by so-called press freedom and human rights groups, many of whom are funded by USAid, the US State Department and CIA-proxy organisations including shills for regime change, the National Endowment for Democracy.
They continue to ignore his plight despite warnings of “psychological torture.”
UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer warned in June: “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”
But journalists across the world are urged “to speak up in defence of Julian Assange at this critical time. Dangerous times call for fearless journalism.”
The letter states: “This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech. If the US government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide.
“In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy.”
It concludes by demanding the immediate release of Mr Assange and urged governments to call for an end to “the legal campaign being waged against him for the crime of revealing war crimes.
“We urge our fellow journalists to inform the public accurately about this abuse of fundamental rights.”
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