Friday, November 16, 2018

Julian Assange's Persecution Timeline For 2018

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January: As Julian’s health deteriorates, doctors examining him call for him to be granted safe passage to hospital.

February: A UK judge rules that the arrest warrant against Julian should be maintained, meaning that he continues to face arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy. The ruling comes a day after it was revealed that Swedish prosecutors attempted to close their investigation in 2013, but British prosecutors dissuaded them from doing so.

March: the new government in Ecuador unilaterally imposes new conditions on Julian that prevent him from having visitors and receiving telephone calls and other electronic communications, permitting him only to meet with his lawyers. Numerous public figures issue statements in support of Julian, calling for Ecuador to #ReconnectJulian and end his isolation. At least four open letters from civil society advocates around the world are sent to the Ecuadorian government, calling for an end to Julian’s isolation conditions. More than 87,000 supporters signed a petition launched by Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis, hosted by DiEM25.

March: Ecuador’s move to cut off Julian’s communications occurs one day after a high level US military visit to Ecuador “to discuss security cooperation”.

April: The US and Ecuador sign a new military cooperation agreement.

April: The Democratic National Committee files a lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign, and various individuals it alleges participated in the plot to hack its email servers and disseminate the contents during the 2016 election. The DNC also sues WikiLeaks for its role in publishing the hacked materials, though it does not allege that WikiLeaks participated in the hacking or knew about it in advance; its sole role, according to the DNC’s lawsuit, was publishing the hacked emails. According to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Trevor Timm, writing for The Intercept, the DNC lawsuit poses a serious threat to media freedom in the US.

May: Reports about Julian’s stay in Ecuadorian embassy being in jeopardy mount. CNN reports that the situation has become “unusually bad” and that Julian’s refuge in the embassy may end “any day now.”

May: A ruling from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies, in effect setting out Ecuador’s obligations in relation to Julian.

June: US Vice President Mike Pence visits Ecuador, where the case of Julian Assange is raised in a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. Before his visit, ten Democratic Senators send a letter to Pence urging him to address the issue “at a time when Wikileaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally”.

July: Media reports suggest that the UK and Ecuador are seeking to reach a “high level” agreement to breach Julian’s asylum by handing him over to the UK police to be arrested.
October: Ecuador unilaterally imposes further restrictions on Julian in a new “Protocol”. This includes explicit threats to revoke Julian’s asylum if he, or any visitors, breach or are perceived to breach, any of the 28 “rules” in the protocol. The “protocol” forbids Julian from undertaking journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum. The rules also state that the embassy can seize Julian’s property or his visitors’ property and hand these to the UK police, and report visitors to the UK authorities.

November: US prosecutors inadvertently reveal that Julian has been charged under seal (i.e., confidentially) in the US – something which WikiLeaks and others have long said but which has been denied by some US officials. The document making the admission was written by Assistant US Attorney Kellen S Dwyer. The Wall Street Journal reports that “over the past year, US prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange”. It notes that charges against Julian could include violating the US Espionage Act, which criminalises releasing information regarding US national defence.


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