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AOAV joins others in calling for the release of Julian Assange

As the critical hearing on May 20th approaches, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) joins the increasing number of calls demanding the immediate release of Julian Assange. This hearing will determine whether Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States or if he will be allowed to appeal his case further. The outcome has profound implications for global media freedom and the principles of open justice.

For over a decade, Julian Assange has been at the centre of a contentious legal battle that has significant implications for press freedom. The charges against Assange are directly tied to his role in publishing classified information that exposed alleged war crimes and human rights violations. These revelations, which are undeniably in the public interest, underscore the essential function of journalists and publishers in holding governments accountable.

We are deeply concerned about the treatment of Assange and the obstacles faced by international observers in monitoring his hearings. Despite numerous assurances, trial observers have reportedly encountered significant barriers to accessing the courtroom and following proceedings online. Such impediments not only undermine the principle of open justice but also erode trust in the judicial process.

Assange’s potential extradition to the United States poses a severe risk to his safety and well-being. If extradited, he faces the prospect of decades in prison, likely under harsh conditions including prolonged solitary confinement. This is a clear violation of human rights standards and raises grave concerns about his ability to receive a fair trial.

The U.S. government’s relentless pursuit of Assange appears to be more about silencing a critical voice than upholding justice. The charges against him are a direct attack on press freedom, sending a chilling message to journalists worldwide that exposing government misconduct is perilous.

We urge the U.K. authorities to recognise the broader implications of this case and to halt the extradition proceedings against Assange. Furthermore, we call on the U.S. government to drop all charges against him. His ongoing detention is not only unjust but also a stark reminder of the fragility of press freedom.

The hearing on May 20th is not just about Julian Assange; it is about the future of press freedom and the right to know. We stand with all defenders of these fundamental principles and urge the courts to act justly.

The time to release Julian Assange is now.