Free Julian Assange!

I declare an interest: Julian Assange is my friend. But I do not defend him because he is a friend. He is a friend because he is worth defending, because he disclosed vital information to the public on actions taken in our name and because he has sacrificed his freedom to do it. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, has visited Assange in Britain’s high security Belmarsh prison and concluded that he is suffering “full-fledged psychological torture.” In addition, Spanish contractors working for the CIA have monitored privileged lawyer-client discussions with his defense team. Assange is not receiving a fair hearing in Britain. He is unlikely to receive a fair trial in the United States, when the prosecution knows all about his legal strategy while he knows nothing of theirs.

The criminals who perpetrated war crimes revealed in their own communications documented and made public by WikiLeaks did not want you to know about them. Nor do they want you to know about those they commit in the future. To conceal the truth, they will put the truth-teller in an oubliette where he will never again discover and reveal anything. By depriving Julian Assange of his freedom and thus intimidating his journalistic colleagues, US and UK prosecutors are abetting criminality by spies, secret policemen, torturers, and kleptocrats everywhere. If they succeed in putting Julian Assange in a concrete cell for the rest of his life, it will give them a long breathing space to commit more crimes and amass illegal wealth in secret.

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