By Ann Garrison
On July 6, Nozomi Hayase and I spoke at “Julian Assange and Press Freedom,” a forum at the Starry Plough Pub in Berkeley, California, sponsored by the Alameda Peace and Freedom Party, Oakland Greens, Task Force on the Americas and Bay Area System Change, Not Climate Change. These are a few follow-up notes and links to answer questions only partially answered at the forum.
European Court of Human Rights
First, with regard to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the legal venue which seems to hold out the most hope of stopping the US from extraditing Julian Assange, the ECHR is an institution of the 47-member Council of Europe founded in 1949, predating the 28-member European Union founded in 1993. The UK is a member of the Council of Europe, so a long-awaited Brexit from the EU should not cancel the court’s jurisdiction in the UK.
The European Convention of Human Rights is also an institution of the Council of Europe. It includes an Article 10 guaranteeing freedom of speech and press, although it is nowhere near as protective as the First Amendment to the US Constitution because it includes so many caveats that there’s great latitude for interpretation by judges who define national security, public safety and morals, and “the disclosure of information received in confidence.”
Nevertheless, University of Illinois Law Professor Francis Boyle told me:
“My educated guess based upon the second [US] indictment is that Assange has a pretty good chance of getting a temporary restraining order and then a judgment on the merits in the ECHR. But people really need to organize in Britain to bring public pressure to bear upon the government against extradition.
“In the ECHR, there would be first an indication of provisional measures of protection, which is the equivalent of a US temporary restraining order, while the proceedings on the merits go forward until there is a judgment on the merits. But please make it clear in whatever you report that I am not a lawyer on this case and I am certainly not authorized to speak for them or Assange. This is just my own opinion based upon what has been publicly reported so far. And I am not an expert on UK extradition law either.”
(So many journalists have asked to speak to Assange’s lawyers that one is lucky to get a ticket and stand in line.)
If the European Court of Human Rights issues the equivalent of a temporary restraining order, it should prevent Assange’s extradition to the US until his case has been heard there. A judgment in his favor should stop his extradition to the US (in a law-abiding world).
On another positive note, Francis Boyle said that, “On the basis of the proceedings so far, it’s obvious that his lawyers know exactly what they are doing. So let’s see what happens on the extradition hearing scheduled for February.”
Recording of Starry Plough forum
With rudimentary equipment and considerable pub noise in the background: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/07/08/18824550.php
Links regarding rape allegations against Julian Assange in Sweden
“Sex, Lies, and Julian Assange,” a documentary by Journeyman Pictures, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5usm9x
George Galloway on rape allegations against Assange: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/aug/20/george-galloway-julian-assange-rape
Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English organization supporting Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange in the UK
WISE Up Action – A Solidarity Network for Manning and Assange (WISE = Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English), https://wiseupaction.info/
Write to Julian Assange
Letters pouring into Belmarsh Prison prove the world cares. Here are instructions for making sure your letters get past prison censors: https://writejulian.com/.
‘WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate: History Is Happening’
Download Nozomi Hayase’s book free on her website: http://nozomihayase.com/book.
Read my review of Nozomi’s book on the Black Agenda Report: https://blackagendareport.com/wikileaks-global-fourth-estate-history-happening.
San Francisco Labor Fest Forum on Julian Assange, July 26
https://wikileaks.org. Browse and search but be careful. It may be hard to stop.