IALANA Germany demands immediate release of Julian Assange

17 August 2023
Joint Appeal from IPPNW and IALANA*

Julian Assange is now facing deportation every day! We demand his immediate release. The German government must speak plainly to President Biden.

In the process by which the US is demanding the extradition of Julian Assange to stand trial under the Espionage Act, legal recourse in the British courts is almost exhausted. The High Court’s de­ci­s­ion on the appeal in the final instance is immi­nent. Should Assange fail here as well, the way would be clear for the British Home Secretary Suella Braverman to fly Assange out to the USA immediately.

Assange’s lawyers can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, but this has no suspensive effect. However, if an additional app­lication for provisional measures under Article 39 of the ECtHR’s Rules of Procedure is success­ful, the ECtHR can provisionally suspend Assan­ge’s extradition to the US in order to ensure effec­tive legal protection through the main proceedings.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Brit­ish government would comply with an order by the ECtHR to suspend the deportation. This is becau­se Minister Bravermann is act­ing in favour of Brit­ain’s withdrawal from the ECHR.

For more than a decade, Assange has sought to avoid extradition to the US, where he faces an un­fair trial, a virtual life sentence and indefinite soli­tary confinement. According to medical examina­tions, Assange shows all the signs of psychologi­cal torture and suffers particularly from solitary con­finement in Belmarsh. If deportation were to oc­cur, there would be an increased risk of suicide. The prospect of never being released and dying in detention would rob Assange of any hope, even if the prison authorities waive additional “supermax standards” and “Special Administrative Measures” (SAMS), which they only promised on appeal on the condition that Assange’s behaviour would not make such measures necessary after all.

The international peace movement and civil soci­ety owe Assange a debt of gratitude: his revela­tions about war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, supported the pressure on the US government to end the war. Assange’s motto: “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”

Great danger also exists for the freedom of the investigative press, should the proceedings agai­n­st Assange continue. While he was vice-presi­dent under Obama, Biden rejected steps against Assange and WikiLeaks because otherwise, in addition to WikiLeaks, five international newspa­pers, including the New York Times, which had also published the secret material leaked by Chel­sea Manning, would also have had to be charged. In November 2022, the five jointly called on the US government to stop prosecuting Assange in an open letter. They stressed: never before had the anti-espionage law been used to put publish­ers or journalists on trial. ” This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press. Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a demo­cracy. Obtaining and disclosing sensitive informa­tion when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.” 

Despite widespread international protests from human rights groups and journalist organisations, most recently including the Australian government, the US government under President Biden is showing itself intransigent and continuing Trump’s line.

Annalena Baerbock is now particularly in the spotlight, as she demanded the immediate release of Assange before the change of government, citing “serious violations” of “fundamental freedoms under the European Convention on Human Rights”. Where is her usual strong protest against this massive attack on press freedom?

We call on the German government, for the sake of press freedom and to save the journalist Assange, who was unjustly prosecuted for publishing information leaked to him, to protest in clear terms to US President Biden against the threatened extradition and to demand the end of the criminal proceedings against Assange.

*The appeal is supported by the German chapters of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW Germany) and International Association Of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA Germany).

Appeal for a diplomatic solution in North East Asia

The Abolition 2000 members and affiliated networks listed below, representing peace and disarmament organisations from around the world, call on the United States and North Korea to step back from the brink of war in North East Asia, and instead adopt a diplomatic approach to prevent war .

We call for the immediate commencement of negotiations to prevent a military conflict from erupting, and to resolve the underlying conflicts. Such negotiations should take place both bilaterally and through a renewed Six-Party  framework involving China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

The escalating tensions and threat of military conflict over North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities

makes a diplomatic solution of vital importance and the highest priority. The increasing risk of war – and possibly even the use of nuclear weapons by miscalculation, accident, or intent – is frightening.

More than three million citizens of Korea, China, USA and other countries lost their lives in the Korean War from 1950-1953. Should a war erupt again, the loss of lives could be considerably worse, especially if nuclear weapons are used. Indeed, a nuclear conflict erupting in Korea could engulf the entire world in a nuclear  catastrophe that would end civilization as we know it.

In supporting diplomacy rather than war, we:

  1. Oppose any pre-emptive use of force by any of the parties, which would be counter-productive and likely lead to nuclear war;
  2. Call on all parties to refrain from militaristic rhetoric and provocative military exercises;
  3. Encourage China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States to consider the phased and comprehensive approach for a North-East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone with a 3+3 arrangement*, which already has cross-party support in Japan and South Korea and interest from the North Korean government;
  4. Encourage China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States to also consider options and modalities for turning the 1953 Armistice Agreement into a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War;
  5. Welcome the call of the UN Secretary-General for a resumption of Six-Party talks and his offer to assist in negotiations;
  6. Welcome also the offer of the European Union to assist in diplomatic negotiations, as they did successfully in the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program;
  7. Call on the United Nations Security Council to prioritise a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Read the appeal with signatories here