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24 Jul, 2017 23:20

‘Putting people at risk': Assange’s lawyer criticizes new documentary on WikiLeaks founder

The recently released documentary on the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, called “Risk,” compromises the security of those who appeared in the movie, Assange’s lawyer Melinda Taylor told RT.

READ MORE: Assange: I urged Trump Jr to release emails on Russian lawyer before NYT story

The documentary “shows persons who never agreed to be in the film,” Taylor said, adding that “it is not just the WikiLeaks staff, who are put at risk, it is also the sources and persons they worked with.”

She also said that Assange “did withdraw his consent [to being shown in the film] but so did the others: so did his mother, so did [a British journalist, legal researcher, and WikiLeaks section editor] Sarah Harrison, so did [independent American journalist and computer security researcher] Jacob Appelbaum.”

Taylor explained that all these people did so “because they were not given an effective opportunity to voice their concerns and in some cases to even see the film before it was shown.”

“They were participating in this documentary under the strict conditions that they will receive the protection, that they will have a right to give input and to withdraw as well as to voice their concerns – none of this was respected,” she said, adding that the documentary poses a risk “not just for Assange but for the WikiLeaks sources, the people, who put their lives and security on the line to do the work they do.”

Taylor then said that the “Risk” director, the American documentary maker Laura Poitras, director of Academy Award winning CitizenFour about US whistleblower Edward Snowden, violated her initial agreement with Assange.

The agreement, under which Poitras was given “privileged access to WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange,” particularly said that the footage “was never to be edited in the US,” Taylor explained, adding that “Poitras allegedly broke that condition and took the footage to a country where she knew it would be [overseen] by the US authorities, who are waging a war against WikiLeaks.”

The lawyer also criticized the film for not showing the real work that WikiLeaks does. “It does not portray the work of WikiLeaks, it does not show the contributions they’ve made. There is a lot of scope for showing what WikiLeaks does that is just not there. If you want to know about WikiLeaks, go to the WikiLeaks page or to Justice For Assange. This documentary just does not show it,” Taylor said.

She confirmed that Assange’s lawyer, who also represents some other people who appeared in the film, “sent ‘cease and desist’ letters to the distributors of the film due to the fact that the participants did not authorize the use of their images in the film.”

Earlier, the distributors of the documentary said that Assange contacted them and demanded that they “immediately cease the use and distribution of all images of the Named Participants” that appeared in the documentary and “desist from this or any other infringement of the rights” of these people.