Athlone Castle the setting for Irish Day of Solidarity with journalist Julian Assange

Athlone Castle will be the setting for a ‘Solidarity Stall for Julian Assange’ on Saturday afternoon (October 23 ) from 12pm.

It is all part of an Irish Day of Solidarity with Julian Assange, which will see a whole series of activities in support of the imprisoned Australian journalist and publisher. It is organised by Free Assange Ireland in cooperation with other campaign groups and organisations for peace and justice.

More than twenty events are being held to draw attention to the fact that lawyers for the US administration will go to the London High Court on October 27/28 seeking to extradite Assange to the United States to face dubious charges relating to the 1917 US Espionage Act.

It is generally accepted that if Julian Assange is extradited he will be sentenced to 175 years in prison and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ ) has made clear its concern.

“If this extradition is allowed, it will send a clear signal that journalists and publishers are at risk whenever their work discomforts the United States government. Media freedom the world over will take a significant backward step if Julian Assange is forced to face these charges at the behest of a US president,” the Union stated.

Although never convicted of any crime Mr Assange has been held for nearly three years in harsh conditions in solitary confinement in Belmarsh High Security Prison in England.

The solidarity campaign Free Assange Ireland stated that Julian Assange has been persecuted because the media platform he founded, WikiLeaks, has shone a light on the barbarism that lies behind the US ‘war on terror’.

“Between 2007 and 2011 in a series of major scoops that dominated media headlines worldwide WikiLeaks exposed the inconvenient truth behind the US’s ‘war on terror’.

“First were the breaches of international law in Guantanamo; then the Collateral Murder video recording US pilots in an Apache helicopter gleefully slaughtering 18 innocent Iraqi civilians; then in coordination with international media outlets, Julian Assange followed up those revelations with the Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Logs, which exposed major war crimes committed by US forces and its allies.

“These reports shook both world public opinion and the White House. According to Free Assange Ireland: “A US ‘Get Assange’ taskforce set out to spy on him; to discredit his work; and finally to extradite and destroy him.

“Recently, Yahoo News uncovered a 2017 CIA plot ordered by President Trump to kidnap or kill Assange in London. A year later in August 2018 Saudi Arabia murdered a dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in its consulate in Istanbul.

It is clear some of those in power see journalism as a crime, as a capital offence.”

 

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