28 May 2019 — Defend Wikileaks
If you’re in the UK, writing to your MP is an important way you can help Julian Assange in his fight against extradition to the United States.
An email written in your own words will be noticed. Your opinion matters. Regardless of what your MP thinks about this issue, they should pass on your concerns to the Home Office if you request it. For everyone who takes the time to write a letter, the UK government knows there are dozens more who think similarly – so even a couple of hundred letters can make a huge difference.
We’ve laid out a sample letter below, endorsing a path forward for the UK Home Secretary that respects British sovereignty and protects Julian Assange from extradition to the United States. Feel free to put these points into your own words, and express why you think Julian Assange deserves protection from a country that is threatening to imprison him for life.
Need your MP’s contact details? You can find them at theyworkforyou.com
Suggested message Copy to clipboard
E-mail Subject: UK Govt must guarantee no onward extradition for Julian Assange
Dear [[name MP]],
I’m writing to request that Julian Assange be protected from extradition to the United States whether that extradition be directly from the UK or whether it be onward extradition from Sweden.
The United States is indicting Julian Assange for journalistic activity undertaken while in the UK. Assange’s potential extradition to the US on matters related to the act of publishing and journalist-source communications has rightly prompted widespread condemnation. His indictment under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a watershed moment for press freedoms, condemned by media groups and civil liberties organizations from the ACLU to Reporters without Borders to the editors of the Washington Post. As the New York Times Editorial Board warned, the new charges are “aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment.” [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/opinion/julian-assange-wikileaks.html]
A Swedish preliminary investigation was reinitiated in April by a Swedish prosecutor, opening up the possibility that Sweden will also seek Assange’s extradition from the UK. At that point, Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid will be left with the following decisions:
- Prioritise USA: The decision would be for extradition proceedings to the USA to proceed in the UK.
- Prioritise Sweden: The decision would be to extradite Assange to Sweden, from where the US will seek his extradition instead.
Even if the Home Secretary opts for the second option, Sweden cannot extradite Julian Assange on to the United States without the agreement of the UK Home Secretary. The Home Secretary will therefore also have to make a decision of whether to allow Julian Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the United States.
In order to maintain the integrity of the Swedish process, it is important that proceedings not be exposed to politicisation and therefore be kept independent of the threat of onward extradition to the United States.
Assange has always been clear that he sought Ecuadorian asylum for fear of onward extradition to the United States, which is why he cooperated with the preliminary investigation in Sweden, for which there were no charges, throughout his political asylum in the embassy. In fact, Assange himself has said that he would “welcome the opportunity … of defending myself and clearing my name.” https://defend.wikileaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Full_Asylum_Application_Assange_25_june_2012.pdf) As the United States’ new, extraordinarily dangerous indictment makes clear, Assange’s fears have been entirely well-founded.
Whether the US attempts to extradite Julian Assange from the UK, or from Sweden, the Home Secretary will remain the ultimate arbiter on the extradition. The British government must ensure that Julian Assange is not extradited to the USA from the UK or from Sweden.
An extradition to Sweden from the UK, should it materialize, must be accompanied by an undertaking that permission will not be granted for any future attempt to extradite Assange from Sweden to the United States.
I would be grateful if you could pass my concerns on to the Home Secretary.