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Defend the rights of Julian Assange and the freedom of the press

Written declaration No. 705 | Doc. 15061 | 31 January 2020

Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Ms Thorhildur Sunna ÆVARSDÓTTIR, Iceland, SOC ; Ms Gökay AKBULUT, Germany, UEL ; Mr Vlad BATRINCEA, Republic of Moldova, SOC ; Mr Ľuboš BLAHA, Slovak Republic, SOC ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Mr Michel BRANDT, Germany, UEL ; Mr Maurizio BUCCARELLA, Italy, NR ; Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Petter EIDE, Norway, UEL ; Ms Christiana EROTOKRITOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Petri HONKONEN, Finland, ALDE ; Mr Momodou Malcolm JALLOW, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Leonid KALASHNIKOV, Russian Federation, UEL ; Mr Georgios KATROUGKALOS, Greece, UEL ; Mr Kimmo KILJUNEN, Finland, SOC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr George LOUCAIDES, Cyprus, UEL ; Mr Alvise MANIERO, Italy, NR ; Mr Gianni MARILOTTI, Italy, NR ; Ms Cornelia MÖHRING, Germany, UEL ; Mr Marco NICOLINI, San Marino, UEL ; Ms Ria OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Christian PETRY, Germany, SOC ; Mr Roberto RAMPI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Irina RODNINA, Russian Federation, NR ; Mr Nikolai RYZHAK, Russian Federation, UEL ; Mr Shamsail SARALIEV, Russian Federation, NR ; Mr Jussi SARAMO, Finland, UEL ; Mr Axel SCHÄFER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Tommy SHEPPARD, United Kingdom, NR ; Ms Feleknas UCA, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Jiři VALENTA, Czech Republic, UEL ; Ms Victoria VELASQUEZ, Denmark, UEL ; Ms Svetlana ZHUROVA, Russian Federation, NR

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

We are concerned about the welfare of Julian Assange and his prosecution by the United States, which puts Council of Europe standards on the protection of journalistic sources, the rights of journalists and the freedom of expression at risk.

We are also concerned by the conclusion of the United Nations special rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, that Julian Assange shows all symptoms typical of a prolonged exposure to psychological torture and agree that the detention regime currently imposed in the United Kingdom is unnecessary, disproportionate and discriminatory.

In February, a British court will consider Julian Assange’s possible extradition to the United States for charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. Julian Assange is the first publisher to ever be so charged.

Should Julian Assange be extradited, human rights violations must be expected to follow, as they have in the past and present detention of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning.

The Council of Europe's Platform to promote the protection of journalism has issued an alert on the “Continued Detention of WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange”.

We call on the Council of Europe institutions and member States to closely monitor the issues raised and defend the rights of Julian Assange protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.