'Friends of WikiLeaks' fight for Assange’s rights in European Court
The international group, whose goal is to promote WikiLeaks and “defends its mission,” has sent an open letter to the Human Rights Court, asking for it to stop the “unlawful detention” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The network, which boasts members from around the world, points out that Assange has been under house arrest in the UK without charge for nearly two years, and claims that his extradition to Sweden for questioning about an alleged sex crime will prolong his detention. “If he is extradited to Sweden, we know that he awaits incommunicado detention for an indefinite amount of time. For a man who has not been charged with any crime, we consider this arbitrary and unlawful detention and thus a violation of European Convention on Human Rights which the ECHR aims to uphold,” the group’s letter states. They also raise concerns over the case possibly setting a dangerous precedent. “If Mr Assange is extradited under the EAW, it will establish a dangerous precedent. It will make it possible for every citizen detained in the EU to be extradited to another country without a charge or any evidence against them, which we consider a more than distressing development.”The group closes its letter with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, with the hope that the ECRH will find “that it needs to accept Julian Assange’s appeal and deny his extradition in order to ensure his human rights are respected.”Assange, founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has been under house arrest in the UK since 2010, after Sweden issued an international arrest warrant over allegations of sexual assault. Swedish authorities accuse him of raping one woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in August that year, while on a visit to Stockholm to give a lecture. He claims both encounters were consensual, and maintains that the case is politically motivated.