#JA4me Campaign to Free Assange Continues With 2nd Day of Action
As part of a new grassroots campaign to free Julian Assange, April.30th is the second day of action under #JA4Me where people all over the world are encouraged to mobilize in support of the WikiLeaks founder, who has been arbitrarily detained by the United Kingdom and Sweden since 2010.
On Feb.5th,2016 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention announced its decision after a 16-month investigation that Assange’s detainment is illegal, and that Sweden and UK must respect his political asylum with Ecuador and allow for his immediate release. However, both countries refuse to cooperate with this ruling despite international treaties, and insist on having him arrested and extradited to Sweden, whose legal powers refuse to guarantee he will not be further extradited to the United States. From Justice4Assange.org:
Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, has detained without charge in one form or another since 7 December 2010. He is under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London which has granted him asylum and recognised that he risks extradition to the United States for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks.
The US periodically confirms that a criminal national security investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is ongoing — for example to a US court on 4 March 2015, and to the Washington Post on 28 January 2015.
In Sweden, Julian Assange is not charged with a crime. But in a highly unusual move, Sweden issued an Interpol Red Notice and a European Arrest Warrant, immediately after WikiLeaks began publishing a cache of 250,000 US Diplomatic Cables on 29 November 2010. Such warrants are usually issued for persons whose whereabouts are unknown. But Julian Assange’s whereabouts were known (he had given a press conference and hundreds of interviews in London). His lawyers were in communication with the prosecutor and had communicated that he was available to answer questions from the Swedish prosecutor through standard means.
Questioning people within European borders is a routine and uncomplicated process, which is standardised throughout the European Union. Sweden often uses these means to question people.
In the initial ten days after 20 August 2010, the police opened the ’preliminary investigation’, it was assigned to three different prosecutors in quick succession. The penultimate prosecutor found that the case had no basis, and that there were no grounds to place Julian Assange under a criminal investigation.
The final prosecutor however, Marianne Ny, took over on 1 September 2010 and reopened the investigation. The Swedish investigation has been frozen since 2010. In November 2014, Sweden’s Svea Court of Appeal ruled that the prosecutor had failed her professional duty to progress the investigation against Julian Assange.
The photo above is one that was taken in London, Ontario, Canada where a banner was hung in the downtown core early Saturday morning. It reads: “UK + Sweden: Respect International Law, Free Julian Assange”.
#JA4me actions take place on the last day of the month and are meant to put pressure on the Swedish and UK governments, in addition to showing solidarity on a global scale. They can be anything from protests, banner drops, vigils, handing out information pamphlets, putting up posters, or anything someone can possibly come up with. The only “conditions” laid out by founders of the campaign is that actions remain nonviolent. But the longer Assange is detained, the scale and frequency of actions are meant to increase. The end goal is for Assange to be granted safe passage to Ecuador so that he can live and work under the safety of his political asylum.
The #JA4Me campaign began in March and has a website with resources for supporters and media, press releases, and banners for Facebook and Twitter, among other things. The campaign has gotten a significant amount of media attention since it went public, and its founders have cited the historic Free Mandela campaign as a heavy influence, even consulting with anti-apartheid campaigner John Minto. Supporters state that “By putting his life on the line to speak the truth: Julian Assange speaks for me. Now we will rise up for him until they set him free”.