The US try and extradite Julian Assange is the “the Dreyfus case of our age”, John McDonnell has mentioned, as Europe’s human rights watchdog added her voice to opposition to the transfer.
On Wednesday it was claimed in a London court docket that Donald Trump had provided the WikiLeaks founder a pardon if he would say Russia was not concerned in leaking Democratic social gathering emails.
Likening the plight of Assange to Alfred Dreyfus, the 19th-century Jewish French military officer who was tried and convicted on fees of treason amid a local weather of antisemitism, McDonnell mentioned after a two-hour go to to see Assange in Belmarsh jail that Britain’s standing on the planet could be severely broken if the extradition went forward.
“I believe this is among the most vital and important political trials of this era,” the shadow chancellor mentioned. “In reality, longer. I believe it’s the Dreyfus case of our age, the way in which wherein an individual is being persecuted for political causes for merely exposing the reality of what went on in relation to current wars.”
The extraordinary declare in regards to the supposed supply of a pardon from Trump was made at a listening to at Westminster magistrates court docket on Wednesday earlier than the opening subsequent week of Assange’s authorized case to dam makes an attempt to extradite him. Assange faces fees within the US for publishing hacked paperwork.
These voicing assist for Assange had been joined on Thursday by the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights. Dunja Mijatović mentioned he shouldn’t be extradited due to the potential impression on press freedom and issues about “the actual threat of torture or inhuman or degrading remedy”, in contravention of the European conference on human rights.
Permitting the extradition would have “a chilling impact on media freedom, and will in the end hamper the press in performing its process as purveyor of data and public watchdog in democratic societies”, she mentioned.
“The indictment raises vital questions in regards to the safety of those who publish categorized info within the public curiosity, together with those who expose human rights violations. The broad and imprecise nature of the allegations in opposition to Julian Assange, and of the offences listed within the indictment, are troubling, as lots of them concern actions on the core of investigative journalism in Europe and past.”
A former Republican congressman named by the Assange authorized staff as a key witness denied the pardon declare.
Assange’s legal professionals alleged that in a go to to London in August 2017, congressman Dana Rohrabacher informed Assange that “on directions from the president he was providing a pardon or another method out if Mr Assange … mentioned Russia had nothing to do with the DNC [Democratic National Committee] leaks.”
Rohrabacher denied the declare, saying he had made the proposal on his personal initiative, and that the White Home had not endorsed it.
McDonnell mentioned he and Assange had mentioned the problem of the reported pardon however had not gone into nice element.
“We hope that in court docket he is ready to defeat the extradition bid. We don’t consider that extradition ought to be used for political functions, and all of the proof – even the current revelations with regard to Trump engagement – demonstrates that it is a political trial and we hope that the courts will see it that method,” he mentioned.
“If this extradition takes place it is going to harm the democratic standing of our personal nation in addition to America. We’ve got a longstanding custom on this nation of standing up for whistleblowers, journalists … if this extradition takes place I believe it is going to harm our repute.”
A protest in assist of Assange is because of happen on Saturday in Trafalgar Sq. and will likely be addressed by political figures and others such because the music producer Brian Eno. McDonnell mentioned he and others had been calling on folks to display peacefully.
He alluded to makes an attempt to construct a cross-party alliance to combat any extradition, including that there have been Tory MPs who he believed might come onboard. He additionally believed there have been “deep doubts” in authorities, primarily based on feedback by Boris Johnson to Jeremy Corbyn in regards to the unbalanced nature of the extradition treaty between the US and the UK
“The issues we now have now’s that when the hearings begin they are going to be subjudice and it is going to be tough to boost it within the Home of Commons, however we will likely be trying to see how we are able to increase it as usually as we probably can, in fact inside parliamentary guidelines, but in addition construct cross-party assist, and as you understand folks like [the Conservative MP] David Davis have raised their issues, so that is throughout events within the Home of Commons,” McDonnell mentioned..
“I hope that mixture of cross-party assist, what has occurred within the media, the exposes which have taken place in current weeks, will make sure that we now have a local weather of opinion on this nation that stops this extradition happening.”