Kouloglou’s pan-european initiative for the release of Julian Assange

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SYRIZA MEP Stelios Kouloglou has called for pan-European action for the release of Julian Assange. Specifically he authored a letter to the British justice authorities which is co-signed by parliamentarians all over Europe. The founder of Wikileaks remains imprisoned in Britain while his extradition request to the United States is being heard. Last Monday, the court examined the closed doors of Asanz’s lawyers” request to consider the extradition request in September

The letter states that according to doctors, Julian Assange’s health is fragile, that his detention conditions are too oppressing according to the UN special rapporteur, and that due to the pandemic, the trial of the US request may be delayed for some time. As a result, the life of the founder of Wikileaks is in danger. Noting that detaining conditions are becoming more flexible across Europe, and even the early release of prisoners is being considered due to the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, the signatories are calling for the immediate release of Julian Assange.

The letter has so far been co-signed by 36 MEPs from different political groups, including: Costas Arvanitis – Greece GUE/NGL, Petros Kokkalis- Greece GUE/NGL, Dimitris Papadimoulis- Greece GUE/NGL, Marketa Gregorova – Czech Republic, Yana Toom – Estonia ALDE, Marisa Matias Maria, NGE – Portugal – Belgium, Socialists & Democrats, Dietmar Koster – Germany, Socialists & Democrats, Helmut Scholz – Germany, GUE / NGL, Clare Daly- Ireland, GUE / NGL, Damien Careme – France Greens, Marc Johan Botenga – Belgium GUE / NGL, Cornelia Ernst – Germany GUE / NGL, Diana Riba, Greens, Derk Jan EPPINK- Netherlands ECR, Patrick Breyer – Germany Greens, Katerina Konecna – Czech Republic GUE / NGL, Jose Gusmao – Portugal GUE / NGL, Maria Eugenia – Spain GUE / NG L, Alviina Alametsa – Finland Greens reens

Members of national parliaments can co-sign the letter by sending an email here: stelios.kouloglou@europarl.europa.eu

Read the letter:

 

To: The Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP, 

Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice

 

Cc: The Hon Bob Neill MP

UK Commons Justice Committee Chair

SUBJECT: RELEASE OF JULIAN ASSANGE

 

Dear Sir,

 

As Members of the European Parliament we are writing to you requesting the immediate release of Mr Julian Assange on health grounds from HMP Belmarsh, where he is currently being held on remand. 

Extradition proceedings for Mr. Assange began in late February and lasted four days before being put on hold ahead of another round of hearings scheduled to last several weeks. 

We understand that Mr. Assange’s extradition hearing has had to be postponed due to the current Covid19 pandemic may not take place for another six months.

According to current findings Mr Julian Assange has worked as an investigative journalist and according to EU standards this is guaranteed right for media freedom.

Mr Assange suffers from psychological and health problems including depression, dental issues and a serious shoulder ailment stemming from years of isolation as well as  his current circumstances. 

Mr. Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, warned last year that Julian Assange’s life was “at risk” in Belmarsh. The UN expert also remarked  that Mr. Assange “continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status”. We understand that Mr Assange is currently being denied all visits in prison due to coronavirus restrictions and is in isolation for 23 hours a day.

Doctors have also expressed concerns for Mr Assange’s welfare. We note that a doctor has provided a witness statement in recent court proceedings detailing Mr Assange’s particular vulnerability to infection with Covic19 due to his underlying health conditions, which include long-standing respiratory problems.

Detention measures across Europe have become more flexible due to the Covid19 pandemic and prisoners are being considered for early release or bail as the severity of the coronavirus in closed quarters such as a prison, puts prisoners at great risk of infection and death. 

In light of this alongside Mr Assange’s rapidly deteriorating mental and physical health, we demand his immediate release from HM Belmarsh Prison. 

 


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