Press release of June 17th, 2022
UK: Extradition of Julian Assange
PEN Berlin is shocked by British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the US. We urge the German government to work for his immediate release, and to offer him political asylum. All the government needs to do is to keep the promises made before the last general election.
On September 9th 2021, Annalena Baerbock, today Foreign Secretary, at the time still a member of the opposition, declared for the Green Party in Parliament: “Due to serious violations of fundamental freedoms of the European Convention on Human Rights in dealing with Julian Assange – above all against the prohibition of torture (Art. 3), against the right to liberty and security (Art. 5), against the right to a fair trial (Art. 6) and against the right not to receive punishment without law (Art. 7) – we agree with the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 27 January 2020 and the appeal of the UN Special Representative Nils Melzer, and demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.”
Julian Assange has been in solitary confinement in London’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison since April 2019. Before he has been living for almost seven years under de facto curfew as a political refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. The relentless persecution of the journalist and whistleblower by the United States goes back to the exposure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan by the WikiLeaks platform, of which he is a co-founder. In 2010, WikiLeaks, together with the New York Times, the British Guardian and the German Der Spiegel, published reports on the basis of leaked military protocols that prove torture and executions.
PEN Berlin is committed to his unconditional release: Julian Assange must not be extradited to the US! Extradition would be an act of judicial arbitrariness and a defeat for liberal democracy and the rule of law in Europe. In this sense, Julian Assange is the Dreyfus of the 21st century. We will do our utmost to protect freedom of the press and freedom
We stand by our word.