Chomsky, Brian Eno demand Ecuador #reconnectJulian Assange


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017 PHOTO/Reuters

Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Zizek, Brian Eno and other prominent figures are demanding the WikiLeaks founder be reconnected to the outside world.

A group of prominent intellectuals, social activists and artists have signed an open letter demanding Ecuador’s government restore WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet and phone access, allow him visits and respect his right to freedom of expression.

“If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by prominent intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek, as well as rock musician Brian Eno, filmmaker Oliver Stone, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, actress Pamela Anderson and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access, his window to the outside world, arguing he violated his promise to refrain from commenting on political issues.

The Ecuadorean government argues that Assange’s comments could compromise the Latin American nation’s relations with other countries, especially in Europe.

“If the Ecuadorean government does not cease its unworthy action, it too will become an agent of persecution rather than the valiant nation that stood up for freedom and for free speech,” the letter said.

The signatories claim Ecuador’s actions suggest that pressure was placed on the government by the United States: “Under its previous president, the Ecuadorean government bravely stood against the bullying might of the United States and granted Assange political asylum as a political refugee. International law and the morality of human rights was on its side.”

Assange has been a promoter of international social movements, including Catalonia’s fight for independence, for which he has been criticised by Spanish authorities.

“His critical tweets about the recent detention of Catalan President Carles Puidgemont in Germany, and following pressure from the U.S., Spanish and U.K. governments, the Ecuadorean government has installed an electronic jammer to stop Assange communicating with the outside world via the internet and phone,” the letter continues.

Assange recently criticized Germany’s decision to arrest Puigdemont on behalf of the Spanish government. A few days before Ecuador cut off his access to the outside world, Assange tweeted a response to the U.K. Deputy Foreign Minister with responsibility for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan, who called Assange a “miserable little worm.”

“As a political prisoner detained without charge for eight years, in violation of two U.N. rulings, I suppose I must be ‘miserable,’ yet nothing wrong with being a ‘little’ person although I’m rather tall; and better a ‘worm,’ a healthy creature that invigorates the soil, than a snake,” Assange tweeted on Tuesday.

The letter also demands Assange’s human rights be respected as an Ecuadorean citizen and an internationally protected person and asks Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno “to end the isolation of Julian Assange now.”

“If there is no freedom of speech for Julian Assange, there is no freedom of speech for any of us – regardless of the disparate opinions we hold,” it reads.

Assange and the United Nations consider the WikiLeaks founder to be under arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorean embassy since 2012, a description of his situation rejected by British authorities. The U.K. says he voluntarily went into the building and could leave anytime if he is prepared to face the consequences of his actions.

Swedish prosecutors opened a rape case against Assange, but dropped it later as evidence crumbled. He has never been charged with a crime, and his supporters claim he’s being internationally persecuted because of his status as a whistleblower.

List of Signatories:

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