Pressure is mounting on US authorities to drop the charges against Assange for his groundbreaking journalism. US Congresspeople from both parties are lobbying US Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden to stop pursuing Assange under the Espionage Act. At the same time, Australian Members of Parliament are making a major bi-partisan push to demand the US Justice Department end its legal campaign against Australian national Assange.
Since May 2020, the Progressive International has led a range of global actions in the fight against the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States — most notably the Belmarsh Tribunal, which convened parliamentarians and high-level public figures in a virtual tribunal (2020), at Church House, Westminster (2021), the People’s Forum in New York City (2022), the National Press Club in Washington D.C. (2023), and Sydney University’s Great Hall in Sydney, Australia (2023) to hear expert testimony on the contributions of Wikileaks to public knowledge and the threat to the press freedom embodied by the case against Julian Assange.
Per reports from Capitol Hill, the December Tribunal helped to set in motion a new Congressional push to drop the charges against Assange from allies such as US Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The Washington D.C. Tribunal — organised by the Progressive International in partnership with the Wau Holland Foundation — will be held at the National Press Club, where Assange first premiered Collateral Murder, the leaked video documenting war crimes committed by the United States Army in Al-Amin al-Thaniyah, Iraq, mere miles from the Virginia prison where Assange is likely to be held upon extradition.
Inspired by the Russell-Sartre Tribunals of the Vietnam War, the Belmarsh Tribunal brings together a range of expert witnesses - from constitutional lawyers to acclaimed journalists and human rights defenders - to present evidence of these assaults on press freedom and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
This DC sitting of the Tribunal will be co-chaired by journalists Amy Goodman and Ryan Grim.
Members of the DC sitting of the Tribunal include: Marjorie Cohn, professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, Michael Sontheimer, journalist and historian (formerly Der Spiegel), Mark Feldstein, investigative correspondent and Chair of Journalism at the University of Maryland, Trevor Timm, co-founder of Freedom of the Press Foundation, John Kiriakou, former CIA intelligence officer, Rebecca Vincent, Reporters Without Borders, Ewen MacAskill, journalist and intelligence correspondent (formerly Guardian), Ben Wizner, lawyer and civil liberties advocate with the ACLU, Maja Sever, president of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Ece Temelkuran, author, Lina Attalah, Co-founder and Chief Editor of Mada Masr, 2020 Knight International Journalism Award recipient, Sevim Dagdelen, Member of the German Bundestag, Abby Martin, journalist.
Partners of the Tribunal include the Progressive International, Wau Holland Stiftung, Democracy Now!, The Nation, The Intercept, European Federation of Journalists, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Reporters Sans Frontiers, Pen International, Courage, Defending Rights and Dissent, the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Tribunal co-founder Srećko Horvat said:
"The pressure is mounting on the Biden administration to free Julian Assange. More than one man’s life is at stake, but the First Amendment and freedom of the press itself. As long as the Espionage Act is deployed to imprison those who expose war crimes, no publisher and no journalist will be safe. It is time to free the truth.
“The Belmarsh Tribunal convenes in Washington to present evidence of this chilling threat and to unite lawmakers on Capitol Hill in a full-throated defence of the First Amendment and the basic right of all peoples to know what their governments do in their name.”
Register now to attend the Tribunal in person or follow the proceedings online.