Assange’s predicament and its broad implications for journalism and speech are evidently of little concern to Amnesty International, which wrote a letter to the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) telling them that Amnesty is not actively working towards Assange’s defense.
Journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been hit with 17 Espionage Act charges by the United States. If convicted, Assange could be sentenced to up to 170 years in prison or even face the death penalty.
A conviction would also set a dangerous precedent for journalists in the U.S. who publish classified material. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden wrote that “This case will decide the future of media.”
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” Nonetheless, the prosecution of Assange continues undeterred.
Say what you want about Julian Assange but remember this: Wikileaks is about 10 years old. In that time, they have doled out more damage to empire through their publishing than possibly any newspaper in its entire history. That’s why the US wants him in its prisons.
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) April 11, 2019
With so much at stake for reporters and with Assange’s life on the line, one would expect leading human-rights NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to be going to bat for Assange. Yet his predicament and its broad implications are evidently of little concern to Amnesty International, which wrote a letter to the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) telling them that Amnesty is not actively working towards Assange’s defense.
Assange, Manning just plain old prisoners?
“According to Amnesty International, neither Assange nor [Chelsea] Manning are ‘prisoners of conscience,’” Laura Tiernan reports.
According to Wikipedia:
Prisoner of conscience is a term coined by Peter Benenson in a 28 May 1961 article for the London Observer newspaper. Most often associated with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the term can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, or political views.”
Peter Benenson was the founder and leader of Amnesty International until a scandal regarding Amnesty’s direct cooperation with the U.K. Foreign Office and Colonial Office forced him to step down.