Finally – the PACE demands the release of Julian Assange

PACE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, demands the prompt release of Julian Assange and furthermore, invites member states to do more to protect journalists and whistleblowers.

For many years, people demand the release of Julian Assange... Foto: Ricardo Patiño / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0

(KL) – The PACE is absolutely clear: “The extradition of Julian Assange to the United States must be barred and he must be promptly released”, says Resolution 2317 voted on January 28 and dealing with “Threats to media freedom and journalist’s security in Europe”. Finally, the first European institutions feels concerned with what former EU member Great Britain does to one of the most important whistleblowers in the world. However, it remains outrageous that the national governments have not taken position in this case and still refuse to put pressure on Great Britain to stop the extradition process.

According to Nils Melzer, UN torture expert, Julian Assange suffers currently “psychological torture” in the British high security prison of Belmarsh. It is common understanding that the US want to get hold of Assange, to sentence him to up to 175 years in prison and to give a clear warning to all potential whistleblowers. Even if the PACE Resolution comes late, it’s better late than never and considering that not a single European government has the courage to pressure the UK to release Assange, this Resolution is of paramount importance.

Great Britain, however, is fully prepared to extradite Julian Assange to the US, hoping that this might facilitate upcoming negotiations with Washington concerning a new free trade deal, which politically and economically isolated Great Britain will badly need. But trading a human life against a trade treaty, is unacceptable. If Great Britain wants to establish any kind of ongoing relationship with the rest of Europe, the immediate release of Julian Assange MUST be a basic condition for even starting trade talks. There is no reason for any European government to kneel in front of the Johnson/Trump gang which is currently threatening the freedom of press and especially, the life of Julian Assange.

Being an Australian citizen, Julian Assange would, in case of an extradition, not be protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution – this amendment only applies to US journalists and the cases of Chelsea (Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowed show who seriously the US justice takes this amendment…

The allegations the British justice raises against Julian Assange concern the UK Bail Act – after the Swedish rape allegations against Assange proved to be a hoax, any reason is good enough to bring Assange into American hands – and this must not happen.

Other European institutions and the European national governments must join the PACE Resolution and exercise maximum pressure on the UK government. No release of Julian Assange = no trade talks. And thanks to the PACE – the only European institution brave enough to take action in favour of Julian Assange.

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