October 4, 2023 Morning Star (UK)
‘Day X,’ the final hearing, is now approaching for journalist Julian Assange, his wife Stella tells the Morning Star, and all available support must be mobilised.
It is really the end-game for Julian because “we are waiting for what is likely to be the final hearing in the British courts.”
Stella Assange spoke to the Morning Star shortly before she was due to address a meeting in Manchester where four days of political events were taking place coinciding with the Tory Party conference taking place in the city.
The People’s Assembly had erected a marquee in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre in which issues such as the climate crisis, Tory cuts and the National Health Service were debated and discussed — a far cry from the bilious right-wing rants taking place a few hundred yards away in the Conservative Party’s conference venue.
Julian Assange’s story is well known. The Wikileaks founder and investigative journalist exposed war crimes and torture involving the US military in Iraq.
His revelations included footage of a US air strike on civilians in Iraq, leaked information from US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, military logs from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and US diplomatic cables.
The British government, ever eager to please its US puppet masters, had him arrested when the government of Ecuador ended a period of political asylum Assange had spent in its embassy in London.
The Ecuadorian government’s action was yet another example of a sovereign government pandering to its bully-boy master.
In April 2019, Julian Assange, who is now in his fifties, was incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in which he has spent the last four-and-a-half years.
He has been charged with no offence but in the US charges — including espionage — were drawn up, which if the US authorities manage to extradite him from Britain, will very likely subject him to 175 years in prison.
His appeal against extradition has been dragging through Britain’s judicial process.
His case is not looking hopeful. The appeal against extradition has been refused at every stage.
Stella Assange told the Morning Star: “The High Court refused his appeal. The only remaining course is to go to two judges and ask them to review the dismissal. If they confirm the decision it really is the end of the road for Julian in the UK. But it is the final chance for the courts to do the right thing and to allow Julian the right to make his appeal.
“The hearing will be in public,” she said. “We are campaigning to raise awareness of the fact that it is going to happen. We are calling it Day X because the court has not decided on a date. We will be calling on people to go to the Royal Courts of Justice when it happens and to make as much noise as possible.
“He needs all the support he can get. The world needs to seen.
Julian Assange has won worldwide support throughout his imprisonment including from the prime minister of his country of birth, Australia, Anthony Albanese.
“He has been able to have visitors,” she said. “This past week he had Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey and Roger Waters.
“They have all been speaking out for him and against this injustice.
It is very important for him not just to hear about the support he has but to see his friends, for his friends to see him in there.”
“He has been there for four-and-a-half years and it can become a bit abstract. If you go and see him inside you understand how real it is to him, how critical it is.
“He has been in Belmarsh Prison since April 2019. He is on remand. He is not serving any sentence.
“The US has made charges that amount to 175 years. There is a global campaign for Julian’s freedom.
“His campaign is transcendent. It’s not just about him. It is about the public’s right to know the truth and for journalists’ ability to print it.
“It has global repercussions because of the nature of the case. He is being prosecuted for exposing war crimes and torture in Iraq.
“It really is the world on its head when Julian exposes actual crimes being committed yet he is in prison.
“He did nothing wrong, he did the right thing — he published.
“The significance of the case is that publishing the truth is a crime if you offend the wrong people. Under these circumstances, there is no press freedom.”
Stella Assange is hoping for maximum public support when Day X arrives.
“As soon as we know the date we will say when Day X is,” she said. “And on Day X we will be saying ‘get out on the streets’.”
-Photo Credit: Neil Terry Photography