Open Letter to Mr Rudd, foreign minister, urging him to protect Assange

December 19, 2011

74 prominent citizens have called on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and new Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to take urgent steps to safeguard the human rights of WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange. The group comprises some of Australia’s most eminent public figures, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, as well as international figures such as Noam Chomsky, David Gilmour and Ken Loach. They ask Mr Rudd to seek assurances from the Swedish and United States governments that Julian Assange will be treated in line with basic international standards of due process.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court last week granted Assange leave to appeal against his extradition to Sweden, with a hearing to be held on 1-2 February. Pending the outcome of his appeal, Assange may be extradited to Sweden and held incommunicado even before being charged with any offence. Regardless of the outcome of both the appeal and possible proceedings in Sweden, Assange will continue to face the threat of extradition to the US.

The open letter to the Foreign Minister and Attorney-General raises concerns that Assange faces persecution in the US because of legitimate journalism conducted entirely outside America. WikiLeaks recently received the 2011 Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.

The letter makes no comment on the allegations against Assange in Sweden, which are serious and deserve appropriate investigation. However, the group calls on the Australian government to publicly state that all Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen will be protected.

The signatories hope more citizens will endorse their stance by adding their names to the letter, which can be viewed at the following link.

Letter to Mr Rudd