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Free Assange debate in European Parliament

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Tonight at 9:30 p.m., on the initiative of the Pirate Party, the European Parliament will discuss the case of imprisoned journalist Julian Assange, which is expected to result in his extradition by the UK. The EU Commission (High Representative Borrell) and EU Council (President Michel) will have to break their silence on Assange and speak out today.

Pirate Marcel Kolaja will raise his concerns about Assange’s situation and the implications for press freedom, as well as the serious risks to the Wikileaks founder’s health in the event of extradition to the United States.
Marcel Kolaja, Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party, comments:

“The persecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers, and advocates of transparency worldwide. His case is not just about one individual; it's about the fundamental right of the public to access information that holds governments and powerful entities accountable. Citizens have the right to know the truth about the actions of their governments and the powerful institutions that affect their lives. We cannot allow the world to become a place where the journalists and whistleblowers are treated like war criminals. And the European Parliament cannot stay silent on this issue.”

Markéta Gregorová, Member of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party, comments:

„When I participated in the London interrogation of Julian Assange in 2020, as the British court later on decided not to extradite him to the USA, I warned against excessive optimism. Assange gained some time, which was crucial given both his mental and physical health. Yet the battle for his principled victory is ongoing, and he is now facing another test. I hope that this time too the British court will decide not to extradite one of the most prominent fighters for free access to information. And that this time it will say out loud what human rights organizations have been pointing out for a long time: that Assange is at risk of being extradited to a country whose top officials and secret services openly want to get rid of him. In the days when we are still dealing with the consequences of the killing of Alexei Navalny by Putin's regime, it is also necessary to remember the human rights violations on our, “Western” side. If we want our condemnation of getting rid of inconvenient individuals in authoritarian regimes to have any relevance, we need to be clear about how we approach free speech in a democratic world.“

Patrick Breyer, MEP for the German Pirate Party, comments:

"Double standards just because the USA is an allied state make Europe untrustworthy. The US wants to make an example of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange so that no one dares to leak internal information that exposes war crimes, unlawful detention, human rights violations and torture by the world power. For us Pirates, such transparency is both a mission and an obligation, because only in this way can the powerful be held accountable for state crimes and abuses of power be stopped. That is why we are calling for the release of Julian Assange.

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“When I raised the Assange case during a trip to the USA by the Home Affairs Committee, government representatives told me that every journalist would be prosecuted according to the same standards. In other words, freedom of the press and investigative journalism, our right to truth and justice are at stake here. The world is now looking at the UK and its respect for human rights and the Convention on Human Rights. Britain's relationship with the EU is at stake."

On the initiative of the Pirates, a group of 46 MEPs from various political groups had previously sent a final appeal to the British Home Secretary to protect Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and prevent his possible extradition to the United States. In a letter to the UK Home Secretary last week, the signatories emphasized their concerns about the Assange case and the implications for press freedom, as well as the serious risks to Assange's health in the event of extradition to the US. According to the letter, the US government is attempting to use the Espionage Act of 1917 against a journalist and publisher for the first time. If the US succeeds and Assange is extradited, this would mean a redefinition of investigative journalism. It would extend the validity of US criminal laws to the whole world and also to non-US citizens, but without extending the validity of the US constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression in the same way.

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