Over 50 leading academics sign letter to demand that ‘Assange and Manning be released’

A picture of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange
John McEvoy

A group of leading academics – both in the UK and worldwide – have signed a letter demanding that publisher Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning must be released.

The letter: Assange and Manning must be released

Signed by the likes of historian Mark Curtis, former UK ambassador Craig Murray, and CIA counterterrorism-officer-turned-whistleblower John Kiriakou, the letter reads:

Over the past decade, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have revealed human rights abuses and a string of instances of corporate, government and intelligence agency corruption. As scholars and citizens concerned with the protection of whistleblowers and a free press, with the ability to hold government to account for such abuses we call for the immediate release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning from prison.

We reiterate the concerns of the United Nations special rapporteurs regarding the ongoing mistreatment of Mr Assange and Ms Manning by the US and UK authorities, and affirm the statement of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that “the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.

“Trying to make an example”

Prof Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, recently told The Canary:

The only realistic explanation for this sustained systemic failure of the judiciary is that the United States, and probably also the other involved states, are trying to make an example of Mr Assange before the eyes of the world, not as much as a punishment for whatever real or perceived harm he is alleged to have caused, but as a measure of deterrence for others who might be tempted to imitate Wikileaks and Mr Assange in the future. In these circumstances, Mr Assange has absolutely no chance to get a fair judicial proceeding in any of these jurisdictions.

While Assange’s health deteriorates in Belmarsh high-security prison, Manning is in jail again after refusing to cooperate with a grand jury. She told the judge that she would rather “starve to death” than testify.

Featured image via Tim Travers Hawkins/WikiCommons & Cancilleria de Ecuador/Flickr

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