Free Julian Assange!


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julian

Från en demonstration i Barcelona 11 dec 2010

Assange has not even been charged, let alone convicted. Swedish prosecutors do not have to produce any evidence that he committed the alleged sexual offences to justify the warrant. On the basis of the allegations that I heard read out in court, the evidence seems feeble, but I concede that I don't know the full facts. Neither does Assange. Stockholm's chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, who heard the evidence against Assange in August, threw the case out of court, saying: "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape."

That is not the reason I was there. I was there because I believe that this is about censorship and intimidation. The timing of these rehashed allegations is highly suspicious, coinciding with the recent WikiLeaks revelations and reinvigorated by a rightwing Swedish politician. There are credible rumours that this is a holding charge while an indictment is being sought in secret for his arrest and extradition to the US. An accusation of rape is the ultimate gag. Until proved otherwise, Assange has done nothing illegal, yet he is behind bars.

There is a fundamental injustice here. There are calls for the punishment (execution even) of the man who has reported war crimes, but not for those that perpetrated or sanctioned them.

On the one hand, the US is proud of its First Amendment and its long-standing commitment to the freedom of speech. It was announced last week that the US is to host next year's Unesco World Press Freedom Day event, which champions in particular "the free flow of information in this digital age".

On the other hand, it is examining ways to take legal action against Assange, who is in effect editor of the world's first stateless (non-profit) media organisation. It has blocked access to the WikiLeaks website and denied its citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant. It has also successfully pressured Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to withdraw their services from WikiLeaks, as well as the Swiss bank PostFinance, to close Assange's account.

Källa: Jemima Khan GUARDIAN 12.12.2010

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Vi hör Jussi samt Ulla Billquist

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