DiEM25 joins global call to #freeassange

The event marks Julian Assange’s 4th anniversary of political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Loach, Chomsky and Žižek among the DiEM25 members participating at the event

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, June 16, 2016–DiEM25, the Democracy in Europe Movement, will join the global call to end the cruel and illegal persecution of one of its founding members, Julian Assange.

Next June 19th, on the WikiLeaks founder’s 4th anniversary of political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, people from all over the world will join their voices simultaneously in Berlin, Paris, New York, Quito, Brussels, Madrid, Naples, Belgrade, and other cities. Julian Assange will connect with all of them live from London.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister and DiEM25 co-founder, explained that: “Julian Assange’s great contribution is the demonstration of how technologies used to make citizens transparent in the eyes of government and corporations can be utilised by activists to do the opposite: to throw light into the decision making processes of governments and corporations while shielding citizens from the probing eyes of the high and mighty. The establishment’s rage against Assange is testimony to his public service.”

The Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat, and one of the organisers of the event, says: “The inspiration for the title of the event ‘First they came for Assange..’ comes from the famous Martin Niemöller poem about the cowardice of intellectuals and purging of dissidents. What we want to stress with these events is that we live in a critical time. We are gathering all around the world on the 19th of June to speak out for Julian, because he has spoken out for all of us, we are speaking out before there is no one left to speak out.”

DiEM25 will be present at various participating cities, such as Brussels (Bozar Centre for Fine Arts), where Yanis Varoufakis and Srecko Horvat will join as speakers on the importance on whistleblowers, transparency and democracy.

DiEM25, eldario.es and El Círculo de Bellas Artes are co organizers of the Madrid event, where jurist, Baltasar Garzón, whistleblower, Ana Garrido, journalist, Virginia Alonso and DiEM25 member, Luis Martín, will be the speakers.

Among the speakers at this global event is also British filmmaker and DiEM25 member Ken Loach, who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. He explained that he joined the event and its long list of supporters because “our legal system is being manipulated to keep a brave man in isolation” and that “all who care about freedom of information should demand that the threats made against Julian should be lifted. He should be able to leave his place of safety without fear of deportation or being handed over to those who intend him harm.”

The official freeassangenow.org website lists all participating cities and speakers.

First they came for Assange…

Inspired by the famous Martin Niemöller poem about cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group, what the event “First they came for Assange…” wants to stress that we live in a critical time in which everyone opposed to the political and financial powers might soon become a target.

It has been 4 years since a courageous South American nation granted Julian Assange asylum due to his legitimate fears of rendition to the US. After exercising a sovereign right, the UK threatened to attack the London Embassy. Since then, two EU Governments, Sweden and the United Kingdom, consistently refuse to recognise their human rights obligations and grant safe passage to Julian Assange.

In February 2016 the UN declared the detention of the Editor and journalist as illegal and demanded his urgent release and compensation. Over 500 human rights organisations, law professors, former UN office holders and Nobel Prize winners signed a letter urging the governments of Sweden and the UK to respect UN’s decision to free Assange immediately.

More than a hundred days have passed and the situation remains the same, and will remain the same, unless there is an increase in political pressure. We cannot afford inaction. First they came after Julian Assange, then they came after Chelsea Manning, then they came after Edward Snowden… who is next?

For more information about this event, please visit freeassangenow.org.

 

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