Yesterday, on the verge of Lent and the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, I again went to a church for political reasons: to hear speeches in Assange’s defence and in denunciation of the inhumanity of his treatment and of derogations from the rule of law in his case.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’
I here publish the International Jurists’ letter to British authorities in support of Julian Assange, which was send to its recipients and made public on 22nd February 2020.
With Assange’s extradition hearings set to begin on February 24th, 2020, eminent jurists (actual and former judges, lawyers and legal academics) from around the world have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They detail numerous violations of the law in the case of Assange, and urge the UK authorities to deny the US extradition request and to immediately release him.
On 3rd February 2020 a second speaker meeting in support of Julian Assange entitled ‘Free the Truth’ took place at St. Pancras New Church, London. The speakers included Craig Murray (former UK ambassador, now human rights activist), John Shipton (father of Julian Assange), Eva Joly (former French prosecutor, Green EU parliamentarian and member of the development committee), Lisa Longstaff (Women’s rights campaigner and spokesperson for Women Against Rape), and Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture).
I would observe that it has repeatedly turned out to be churches that are the venues most open to hosting events in support of Julian Assange.
On 28th November 2019 St Pancras New Church, London, was filled by around five hundred people to hear several distinguished academics and journalists speak in defence of Julian Assange: Deepa Driver (organiser), Lowkey (rapper), Lissa Johnson (clinical psychologist), Fidel Narvaez (former Ecuadorian diplomat), Lisa Longstaff (spokesperson for Women Against Rape), Mark Curtis (historian and journalist), Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), Craig Murray (former UK diplomat, blogger and historian), and John Pilger (investigative journalist). This is my write-up of the evening.
A few weeks ago I visited one of the only Gulag memorial sites – Perm-36 in the Urals. In the company of my English friends, I tried to work out what I – and we – were doing there.
Helen Bamber, founder of the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture, died 21st August 2014. I recollect the one time I heard her speak.