The decision of Julian Assange’s asylum plea is expected some time soon; it is important that we keep up the pressure on the UK government and insist that they act justly and with integrity on our behalf. Write to your MP with these two important letters:
1) Thanks to Gail Malone (@gailymalone) for sharing this template open letter to Theresa May demanding the right of safe passage for Julian if and when asylum is granted:
Dear Ms. May,
We humbly ask that you exercise your authority in the case of Julian Assange and his request for political asylum to the Ecuadorian Government. We ask you to respect Ecuador’s decision if and when granted. It will be carefully and thoughtfully considered, having full knowledge of all the facts. Ecuador is being respectful of the UK during this process and will not make a decision during the Olympic Games. We request that Julian Assange be allowed unfettered passage to Ecuador when he leaves the Embassy.
Given the right of political asylum is proven in this case to Ecuador’s satisfaction, it would befit the UK to grant this. The practicalities of the move would be more dignified if the UK allowed Julian Assange safe passage from the Embassy in London to an aircraft to take him to his new home. This would respect the decision made by Ecuador, as International Law allows, show that the UK is not subject to the US’s whims and would seem an appropriate course of action for all concerned.
2) Theresa May also needs to answer some important questions about her reluctance to offer Julian Assange assurances that the US have not requested to have Julian further extradited from Sweden or that, if they have, she will not consent:
Dear (your MP’s name)
I am writing with continued concerns about the situation of Julian Assange and the complexities of the political context surrounding his work with the media organisation WikiLeaks.
As you are aware Mr Assange is currently seeking political asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London. Due to the political reactions towards his work there are some very real concerns that:
– he will not receive a fair treatment if extradited to Sweden
– he will face further extradition to the US from Sweden
I am writing to ask you specifically about the role of the UK Home Secretary Theresa May and her power with regards to the further extradition of Mr Assange to the US. I have recently read (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/26/ecuador-julian-assange-extradition-us) that:
“The senior legal adviser to the Ecuadoreans said that the home secretary, Theresa May, would need to waive specialty under section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Assange could be extradited from Sweden to the US.
Despite repeated requests from Ecuador, the Foreign Office has not said whether or not May intends to exercise her powers to allow for any potential future extradition to the US.”
I understand from this that our Home Secretary would be in a unique position with regards to the authorisation of the further extradition of Mr Assange from Sweden to the US and I wish you to clarify certain points for me in light of this.
Mr Assange and the legal team supporting him have made it very clear throughout his detainment in the UK that, with evidence of a secret US grand Jury in relation to WikiLeaks (http://wikileaks.org/Stratfor-Emails-US-Has-Issued.html), there is a very real threat that Mr Assange will face extradition to the US. Being aware of this and the length of time that Mr Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden due to this fear it would be somewhat prudent for Ms May to directly offer Mr Assange assurances that:
– consent has not been made regarding his further extradition to the US or
– Ms May would not offer consent should such a request be made
It is clear that, despite repeated requests, no such assurances have been made and I would appreciate you explaining to me why such clarity would not be forthcoming. If there are no grounds for Mr Assange to be concerned about his possible extradition to the US why would Ms May not publicly assert this? Would this reassurance not help pave the way for Mr Assange to defend himself in relation to the allegations made about him in Sweden?
It would be somewhat logical to assume that Ms May is unable to issue this reassurance and it would follow that she is unable to do so only because consent has, indeed, been sought by the US in relation to Mr Assange facing further extradition. I note that it is stated within subsection 4 of Section 58 of the 2003 Extradition Act that, should she deem it ‘impracticable,’ Ms May would not be obliged to uphold the right of Mr Assange to be made aware that she had received a request for consent.
I would like you to answer specifically and succinctly my following questions:
1) Will you urge Theresa May, Home Secretary, to publicly state that she would not waive specialty under section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003 to ensure that Julian Assange could not be extradited from Sweden to the US?
2) Why would the Home Secretary refuse to issue this assurance sought of her regarding further extradition to the US?
3) Do you agree that the consequences of not issuing this assurance work to fuel fears that consent has indeed been requested of Ms May by the US?
4) If consent has been sought for further extradition what reasons would entitle Ms May, under subsection 4 of Section 58 of the 2003 Extradition Act, to deem it impracticable to serve the required notice upon Mr Assange?
5) Will you, if you have not already done so, sign the EDM 128 for the reform of the Extradition Act?
I look forward to hearing from you
Yours, (your name)
You can find details of your MP here: http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/
Or use this tool to send an email to your MP: http://www.writetothem.com/
Urgent reform of these processes could help protect Julian Assange (and WikiLeaks) by holding the Home Secretary to account over her duty to protect the human rights of those residing in the UK. We need to show how extradition law in the UK is being corrupted in order to politically sanction an injustice- the case against Julian Assange, and the implications of an extradition to the US, is a clear illustration. We are UK citizens. These are our laws. We should not be comfortable.
NEW Make sure you sign this petition by Avaaz and demand Julian Assange is protected from extradition to the US.
NEW Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron
Send this letter to our Prime minister, copying it to your MP and tell them that you would like the issues it mentions to be raised during Prime Minister’s Question Time.
You can find the email contact details for your local MP here. David Cameron’s email address is not public but letters sent to the UK Parliament (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) will reach him.
The above link opens a PDF, or cut and paste from below, making sure you add in a request for your MP to sign the EDM referred to.
OPEN LETTER TO UK PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON ABOUT ASSANGE EXTRADITION
By post: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Dear Prime Minister,
I have been discussing the recent Supreme Court Assange extradition verdict with friends, work colleagues and neighbours and want to share with you how ordinary British voters view its implications.
The Supreme Court judgment is stunning in its overreach. It has effectively annulled parts of the UK Extradition Act 2003 and undermined Parliamentary sovereignty, on the basis that Parliament was misled or that it didn’t know what it was doing when drafting the Act. Here’s a good article explaining what’s wrong better than I can. Here’s another (read the comments for a flavour of how UK citizens view what’s just happened). As I understand it, the judges say the decision to implement a treaty overrides any intention Parliament had to vary its terms (ie the 2003 Act), based on an obscure clause of the 1957 Vienna Convention not discussed during the appeal hearing. Oh, and that French is now the ‘preferred’ language of our courts.
At the heart of the matter is where the legal sovereignty to enact the laws which affect the British nation lies. The EU Framework Directive on which our UK Extradition Act is based says that every Member State has the right to choose whom they call a ‘judicial authority’ – except the UK, it now seems. We would say ‘a judge’ under our Common Law system, but the Supreme Court disagrees and says the European Civil Law system takes precedence over ours.
We’ve been told that a successful appeal by Mr Assange would throw the EU justice system into turmoil as 11 Member States use prosecutorial figures in some form of judicial capacity, but I believe there are only 2 out of the 47 Member States where there is no proper separation between executive and judiciary and prosecutors are part of the executive (Sweden being one of them), a point of Mr Assange’s appeal which seems to have received little attention in the judgment. To jettison 800 years of Common Law legal heritage – solely to avoid inconveniencing two European Member States – would, at one point, have required the agreement of the nation in a referendum. In fact, in light of this judgment, a referendum now on extradition reform would be a very good – and popular – idea.
In view of the above, I sincerely hope this case is re-opened – and not via written submissions studied behind closed doors, but in a full hearing televised by the Supreme Court so that the British public can see what is happening to a law which Parliament had intended would protect their rights.
I am aware Home Secretary Theresa May wishes to offload the legal and human rights responsibilities of her office as regards extradition entirely into the hands of the judiciary. This judgment is a perfect illustration of why that is such a bad idea; Ms May’s plan too subverts the primacy of Parliament and “fails to understand the nature of extradition… Extradition is diplomatic in the first instance. It becomes judicial and ultimately it is political.” Sir Menzies Campbell MP
There is a suspicion among people I’ve spoken to that long-promised extradition reform is being delayed until after Mr Assange has left these shores, perhaps because of this, which shows high-level US involvement in the Scott Baker extradition review – itself suffering from excessive secrecy (along with other FOI requests concerning Mr Assange, which have all been denied). What good will reform do at that stage if, thanks to the Supreme Court verdict in his case, anything Parliament enacts in future is deemed automatically superseded by the European Civil Law system?
I will be asking my local MP to sign Caroline Lucas’ Early Day Motion 128 calling for an end to these delays to urgent extradition reform, a halt to all US extraditions meanwhile, and the publication of the Baker Review evidence.
The allegations against Mr Assange have NOT been brought by the women; the allegations have been levelled by the Swedish State. That was the whole point of his Supreme Court appeal. The women are as much victims of the Swedish State as Mr Assange himself is, as they went to police for advice about HIV testing and have publicly stated that he is not violent and they did not wish to file a complaint. One of the women has stated she felt “railroaded” by police and did not sign her witness statement, which was later amended by a politician acting as the women’s lawyer. After reviewing the police file, a senior Stockholm prosecutor dismissed all the allegations bar one (non-extraditable) molestation offence for further investigation, then closed the case entirely.
The case was re-opened by a politician (same one) campaigning during an election to expand Sweden’s sex crime laws and passed by him to an investigating prosecutor in another jurisdiction. That investigating prosecutor has publicly stated: “The detention time can itself be used as punishment if the offender subsequently is not convicted.” You may wish to read that sentence again. Yes, that’s right, punishment instead of conviction. Is this the level of ‘judicial impartiality’ the British public is expected to accept from now on? Ms Ny’s comment reads more like self-appointed judge, jury and executioner to me. I thought we disapproved of that sort of thing in the UK.
People ask “If he’s innocent, what’s he afraid of? Why doesn’t he go to Sweden to clear his name?” without realising that the only venue being offered to argue his innocence is incommunicado solitary confinement under Sweden’s heavily criticised pre-trial detention regime. Despite nearly two years of requests to be interviewed, the Swedish prosecutor refuses to use standard Mutual Legal Assistance channels to question Mr Assange in the UK, without giving any reason. The Swedish authorities say they are seeking to extradite him for questioning (there are no charges) and yet it’s the one thing they seem least keen on doing.
It is time for Britain to formally request that Sweden does what it claims it wants to do: question him – here, on British soil – before we start dismantling Britain’s Common Law justice system in order to facilitate the extradition of one man. I ask that this formal request be lodged with the Swedish Ambassador as a matter of urgency.
Or do you agree that a foreign prison cell is the only suitable place for someone to answer an investigating prosecutor’s questions about not using a condom during consensual sexual encounters? Because if you agree that for Mr Assange then, due to the precedents set by his case, you agree it for us all, and for the next set of McCanns labelled arguidos by a European investigating prosecutor.
The shadow hanging over this whole case from the very beginning, of course, is the looming threat of Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, which would like to see him prosecuted for espionage for his journalistic activities. This can be facilitated very easily through Sweden’s “temporary surrender” arrangements in its bilateral treaty with the US, a clause not available in Britain’s own US treaty. Some of us see that shadow again in the announcement a few days before the Supreme Court’s judgment was due that the US Secretary of State would be visiting Sweden four days after the verdict, for the first time in 36 years – “a very long time” as Swedish FM Carl Bildt proudly tweeted (and I hope the Supreme Court’s communications system doesn’t fall within the ambit of the government’s forthcoming total surveillance for intelligence services bill).
For how much longer can Britain’s senior politicians remain wilfully blind to that shadow when it is becoming more and more visible to their constituents and there is justifiable anger that so many of our rights are being thrown away in subservience to it?
Please answer the questions raised in this letter. You are the Prime Minister. You are expected to care about the laws Parliament enacts to protect the legal rights of people in this country.
UK Citizen [address]
IMPORTANT How come this passed us by? E-petition over at the HM Gov website only has 628 signatures, but there is still time to sign. 100,000 signatures and it gets ‘considered’ for debate in the House of Commons (now there’s democracy for you?!). The House is currently in recess, but returns on the 11th of June. If the UK Supreme Court considers re-opening the extradition case in light of Dinah Rose QC’s appeal then this may still have an impact.
NEW Use the template letter here at WL Central to contact Deputy Minister Nick Clegg to encourage him to stand up for our democracy and support Julian Assange.
NEW FoWL have penned a template letter for the ECHR which can be found here at the WikiLeaks Forum.
We can urge for important reform by contacting our local MP’s with our concerns, and ask them to sign up to the Early day motion (EDM) initiated by Caroline Lucas MP. Read the motion here.
There is comprehensive template letter here at Justice4Assange.com which you can use, remembering to update it with a request for your MP to sign the EDM.
You can also use the handy app here ukextradition.appspot.com
You will need to give your MP your address as they can only respond to citizens residing in their constituency.
You could also help shine a light on the flaws of the extradition process by writing to your local paper with your concerns.