FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2012
(London) Robert Naiman, US 217-979-2857
(US) Megan Iorio, US 908-400-9480
Letter signed by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Wolf, Daniel Ellsberg, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Patch Adams, MD, Mark Weisbrot and other prominent Americans; petition signed by 4000 Americans
LONDON—Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy, delivered a letter to the Ecuadorean Embassy today, signed by prominent Americans urging President Correa of Ecuador to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's petition for political asylum. Assange faces the threat of prosecution by the United States Government under the US Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in publishing leaked US diplomatic cables.
Naiman also presented a petition signed by more than four thousand Americans urging President Correa to approve the request for asylum.
The letter and petition were received by Consul Fidel Narvaez.
The letter, which is online at http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1257, notes that Assange is not wanted on criminal charges in Sweden, but merely for questioning. He has repeatedly made clear that he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but in the UK. As Swedish legal expert and former Chief District Prosecutor for Stockholm Sven-Erik Alhem has testified, Sweden's insistence that Assange be brought to Sweden for questioning is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.”
“If Swedish police want to question him, there is an SAS flight that leaves Stockholm at 7:55 tomorrow morning (flight #525) to London. I'm sure the British authorities would have no problem with the Swedish police questioning Mr. Assange,” Michael Moore, one of the signers of the letter, said on his website. “Any and all allegations of sexual abuse by anyone and to anyone must be treated very seriously, and Mr. Assange should cooperate with the inquiry. But it appears that Sweden has little interest in these charges—what they really want is the ability to extradite Assange to America. And that, simply, must not happen.”
As the letter emphasizes, Assange has good reason to fear extradition to Sweden, since there is a strong likelihood that once he is there, the US will seek to extradite him to face charges under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing leaked US diplomatic cables. The maximum penalty under the Espionage Act is death.
The letter highlights the fact that Assange has helped reveal evidence to the public of crimes against humanity committed by the United States. His persecution by the US government is a clear attack on press freedom and the public's right to know the truth about US foreign policy.
"If the US government succeeds in prosecuting Assange under the Espionage Act for helping to disclose the WikiLeaks cables, it will likely intimidate future potential whistleblowers, making it harder to reveal important secrets about US foreign policy in the future, and therefore making it harder to reform US foreign policy in the future," Naiman wrote in a piece at Huffington Post.
Letter from prominent Americans urging President Correa to grant asylum to Assange:
Petition from over 4,000 individuals, mostly Americans, calling upon President Correa to grant Assange Asylum:
Naiman's article in the Huffington Post:
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