‘WIKILEAKS publication represents a great victory for freedom of expression in the face of government secrecy,’ said a statement by respected journalist Patrick Cockburn, read out at the Old Bailey yesterday morning.
Cockburn’s statement, who is the ex-Middle Eastern corespondent for the Financial Times, was one of a number of statements by professional journalists read out in the court as part of the defence of Julian Assange.
Assange’s defence is fighting to stop his extradition to the US.
A statement was also read to the court yesterday morning from ex-Guardian journalist Ian Cobain.
Cobain noted the importance of Wikileaks in exposing the role of the US, France and the UK in the invasion of Libya.
In particular, Cobain highlighted the importance of Wikileaks in exposing diplomatic cables showing the collaboration between the three countries in the lead up to the bombing, invasion and occupation of Libya.
Outside the Old Bailey there was a big turnout in support of Julian Assange, demanding he is freed so that he will not be forcibly extradited to the US where he faces a 175-year jail sentence for exposing imperialist war crimes.
Joe Brack from the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) spoke to News Line about yesterday’s developments during the hearing.
He said: ‘The evidence now being heard shows the vital importance of Wikileaks as a news organisation.
‘Wikileaks exposed not only the diplomatic contortions that led to an attack on a sovereign nation but also exposed the rules of engagement employed by the NATO allies in their labelling of Libyan leader Gadaffi and his government as a “terrorist regime”.
‘Libya has been reduced to a pre-biblical civilisation mired in civil war, economic collapse and the re-appearance of slave markets.
‘This is a pattern being repeated in the Yemen, Syria, Palestine, all suffering from illegal economic sanctions, proxy invasions, military occupation and resources capture long ago outlawed by the United Nations.’
Sadia Kokni said: ‘Julian Assange should not be extradited. He should not be in prison currently, he has committed no crime legally, morally or ethically.
‘He must be freed.’