January 25, 2023
The Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
I am writing on behalf of Peace Alliance Winnipeg to urge that you lend your voice, and that of the Government of Canada, to the international campaign to free journalist Julian Assange.
As you are undoubtedly aware, Assange is being held in a British prison, pending extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted of charges under the United States Espionage Act.
His “crime” was to create the journalistic resource known as Wikileaks and reveal leaked documents and videos that exposed America’s crimes against humanity during Iraq War and elsewhere. Credible press reports of CIA plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange suggest that he will not face a fair trial in the United States if he is extradited there.
Freedom of the press, an essential feature of democracy, will be seriously damaged if Assange is not set free. For this reason, leading academics, legal experts, investigative journalists, press freedom organizations, human rights groups, and politicians oppose the extradition of Julian Assange. Here is what some world leaders have said:
“What the cables demonstrated is the workings of the global system and its authoritarian nature, these are state secrets that have become known thanks to his work, and I hope that this is taken into consideration, and he is freed, and he is no longer tortured.” (Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico)
“Assange is a hero of our time. His actions helped to unravel the manipulation of the facts by the US intelligence services. He has done more for democracy in the world than many elected leaders. His arrest is an attack on freedom of expression. And his eventual extradition, if it occurs, violence against human rights and would put his life at risk.” (Lula da Silva, President of Brazil)
“We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of speech. Our solidarity is with Assange who is persecuted by the US Govt for revealing its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage” (Evo Morales, President of Bolivia – 2006 – 2019)
On May 3, 2022, you stated:
“Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we honour the many journalists here in Canada and around the world who work tirelessly to seek out and report on the truth. We also reaffirm our longstanding commitment to the freedom of the press – a foundational pillar of our democracy – and recognize those who have been injured or lost their lives defending freedom of the press.”
In that spirit, we urge you to speak up for Julian Assange. Insist that the British government release him and guarantee his safety. Convince President Biden to have all charges dropped and to direct his intelligence agencies to stand down.
Chair, Peace Alliance Winnipeg