FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! – demands Stella Assange outside High Court

STELLA ASSANGE (centre) arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice with her legal team yesterday morning

‘DROP this shameful case. It is a shame on every democracy. Free Julian! I ask everyone to rally behind him,’ Stella Assange urged in a powerful call outside the Royal Courts of Justice in Strand, central London yesterday.

The court delayed its decision over whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can bring an appeal against his extradition to the United States, giving the US three weeks to provide ‘assurances’ over the case.

In particular, the High Court judges want to see assurances over the use of the death penalty, and over whether Assange will be able to rely on free speech rights.

They said that if no assurances are offered, the court will grant that an appeal hearing can go ahead

Emerging from the court after receiving the short judgement yesterday morning, Stella Assange spoke to a large crowd of assembled journalists and supporters.

She said: ‘The court’s recognised that Julian is exposed to a flagrant denial of his freedom of expression rights, that he is being discriminated against on the basis of his nationality as Australian and that he remains exposed to the death penalty.

‘And yet, what the courts have done is to invite a political intervention from the United States to send a letter saying it’s all okay.

‘I find this astounding.

‘What the courts haven’t agreed to look at is the evidence that the United States plotted to assassinate Julian, to kidnap him, because if it acknowledges that, then of course, he can’t be sent to the United States.

‘Julian is a political prisoner, he is a journalist and he is being persecuted because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives.

‘This case is a retribution, it is a signal to all of you that if you expose the interests that are driving war, they will come after you, they will put you in prison and they will try to kill you.

‘Drop this shameful case. It is a shame on every democracy. Free Julian! I ask everyone to rally behind him.’

Crowds of supporters chanted: ‘Free Free Julian Assange!’ and ‘There is only one decision – No extradition!’

Richard Burgon, Labour MP, addressed the crowd, saying: ‘Julian Assange is being held in Belmarsh top security prison for exposing war crimes. He is being treated like a terrorist. In fact he is a heroic journalist who should be supported by anyone who believes in a free press. Many organisations including Amnesty International, have called for an end to these proceedings.’

Emmy Butlin, from the Committee for the Defence of Julian Assange, said: ‘We are fighting for the right of every journalist to publish the truth. This is all that Julian Assange is guilty of.

‘Who would have thought that would be treated as a crime in 2024 Britain! Do we let him rot in jail or do whatever we can to change the situation? There’s only one answer to that. Free Free Julian Assange!’