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Dear Agnès Callamard and members of the International Secretariat,


We celebrate the release of Julian Assange after 5 years from the infamous HMP Belmarsh, a maximum security prison in London in the United Kingdom, where he suffered greatly as an innocent man. The role played by Amnesty International in advocating the United States (US) drop their politically motivated charges, facilitated by the United Kingdom, and the determination of Amnesty International’s legal observers to witness court proceedings, despite obstacles placed in their way to monitor justice, are duly noted and commended.


However, Mr. Assange has been forced by the US to sign a plea deal prosecuting him under the US Espionage Act, as the only course of action that would secure his freedom. Reacting to this, lawyers, press freedom and human rights organisations have expressed their alarm as it sets a potentially dangerous precedent that can be used against journalists in the future. Such prosecutions are unlikely to be limited to the US, as other governments use this precedent to silence journalism investigating national security matters.


The US plea deal rendered most of the charges in the extradition process unsubstantiated notably, the US included a critical statement that no harm to anybody had come from the documents that were published by Wikileaks.


Prior to his release, Julian Assange clearly met the criteria for a prisoner of conscience as defined by Amnesty International, (as explained in the document referred to below).  The fact that he has been released from his ordeal in prison and no longer faces extradition to the US, does not make this request to review and award prisoner of conscience, of any less importance.  In fact, it is all the more relevant, given the US insistence he sign a plea deal prosecuting him under the Espionage Act, which has resulted in the criminalisation of the everyday practices of journalism.


At this moment in time, making Mr. Assange a prisoner of conscience will capitalise on global interest.  It will symbolise and amplify the need to strengthen freedom of expression, particularly in the form of the media and press, so that governments and organisations that attempt to bypass their associated human rights obligations, can more readily be held to account.  It will also underscore the fact that charges relating to the Wikileaks publications, were without substance, collectively were politically motivated, and were used to attack, imprison and ridicule a media editor over many years.  Prisoner of conscience will recognise him for what he has achieved as a human rights journalist and campaigner and it will help him to gain a presidential pardon.  It will encapsulate the position and voice of Amnesty International as a leading human rights organisation, as it takes control of the narrative in what has become the most important case of the twenty-first century.


I commend and fully endorse the detailed evidential report[1], written and prepared by the Global Assange Amnesty Group (GAAN), July 2024, which you have previously received. It provides indisputable evidence indicating clearly how Julian Assange, prior to his release and currently, meets the criteria to make him a Prisoner of Conscience.


Yours sincerely,

[1] Link to the report :