The following is a first hand account of Julian Assange’s hearing on January 23rd by Monika Karbowska of Wikijustice from France. It was translated from French using the program Deepl so there may be a few minor errors. . The original article in French can be found here.
My ninth trip for an audience of Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrate Court takes place on January 22nd as always on the Flixbus with poor migrants but this time under the sign of increasingly violent emotions: anger, exasperation and psychological fatigue. I am an activist, and my emotions open the way for me to reflect on the ethical appropriateness of my actions. Emotions are the sign of our humanity, but also the compass that keeps our citizen indignation intact and subtly directs our intuition towards solutions for analysis or action. This time my emotions show me that we have reached a point of no return, a tipping point, a change of cycle. Today, to shed light and win the battle, to really free Julian Assange, we need to reverse the virtual storytelling that Wikijustice does, but also understand the symbolic nature of reality in order to wrest from it the signs of real power.
I am exasperated because moving the hearing from January 14 to January 13 at the last minute required a great deal of physical and organizational effort on our part. But it also upset the schedule set on 19 December for this last “case management hearing” scheduled for 23 January. While we had hoped that Julian Assange would appear physically to participate fully in the organization of his trial, we must accept that it is possible that the rumors that he will only appear on video are true. But precisely, I no longer believe in explanations that are never official, rational and justified. Justice by “videolink” is for me an aberration and a serious violation of the ECHR, which defines a fair trial as a physical trial. But as human rights texts are only respected in the capitalist system if citizens use them, it is unfortunately not the East European migrants extradited en masse by the Westminster Court who will be able to assert these rights in the total absence of British organisations. In the case of Julian Assange every hearing marks a step in the recomposition of power in this case. Each element gives us clues as to the real power and that is why I am obliged to note all the details while remaining open to all solutions. Including the good news of the immediate release of Julian Assange, which, let us remember, is legally possible with a lawyer who would apply for release and a judge who would want to show that he or she is independent of political power.
So I imagine Julian Assange just walking out the court door as a free man. I imagine shaking his hands and telling him all about what happened here. I also imagine everything that will be required to immediately deal with his new situation as a Commonwealth undocumented migrant released after 10 years of actual detention.
Power and hierarchy in a queue
In this state of mind, between anger and hope, I get up at 5:00 a.m. and arrive at 5:30 a.m. in front of the courthouse door. I now know that the “Greekemmies” arrive even earlier and that places are more and more expensive in this audience. Indeed, our team is in place at 5.40 am, but there are already 3 people in front of us: an Australian journalist, an elderly lady who turns out to be a psychiatrist who signed the “Doctors for Assange” list and Paul, who more than ever, this morning, looks like an understudy for Julian Assange. He’s sitting in a folding chair, a clever idea after his malaise the week before. Everyone turns out to be French-speaking, and in a later conversation with Paul I learn that he spent his last summer in France with his bicycle. So we talk, we have to keep politeness despite the tension and fatigue, because we are, alas in theory, allies for a cause but in reality at odds because of our differences in strategy. This is what Dr. Felicity De Zulueta talks to me about for several hours, introducing me to her collaboration 20 years ago with the lawyer Gareth Peirce, and to her own work as an expert with political refugees, even if later I find on the internet only the trace of her real specialty – the trauma of abused children. I tell her that she will be shocked, that one does not come out of such confrontations unscathed, even a non-physician like me sees the symptoms of torture that Julian Assange suffered. Dr. De Zulueta nods. She knows that the situation is bad, she has read the report of the doctor from Wikijustice. She appreciates the quality of his work. I explain to her that Wikijustice has always wanted to collaborate with the relatives of Julian Assange and had proposed, as early as July 2019, to the lawyers to discuss the best strategic coordination to be implemented for optimal support of the political prisoner Julian Assange. It is the lack of response and the violence that characters such as Greekemmy inflict on us under the impassive eye of the lawyers that made us take a more radical direction. Without forgetting the SOS letter we received from Julian Assange on 17 August 2019, which gives us the DUTY and not just the right to do everything possible to save him.
Greekemmy arrives en masse around 6 am but some of his collaborators are already behind us. We are counting the presents while our friend J. who is late is twelfth in line. We should all go home, even though it’s room 3. Alas, the sneaky freeloader is still king: J. won’t come in while others, including Naomi Colvin, placed before her by Greekemmy, will be able to fill their twitter account with brief remarks. Basically, the police can install security barriers, but it’s ridiculous. For a media man as famous as Assange was 10 years ago, there are barely 30 of us in front of this place where his final fate is sealed by the iniquitous system he denounced. But in order to fight we must be there, we have no other choice. Julian Assange is deprived of communication with us, deprived of mail, parcels, emails, of the money we sent him. He receives no more visits, not even from John Shipton, permanently out of circulation. Some of the 30 people waiting from 5.30 to 9 am are journalists he knows and who will write stereotypical papers about him. Or write nothing as they did after 19 December, a hearing on which no major media representative published anything while they were forcefully chasing a stolen photo of an exhausted man locked in a van.
It’s finally 9:00 and security guards are unlocking the doors. We go in, each one watching his place. I’m lucky, I pass the metal detector very quickly, I check on the lists in the hall, yes, alas it’s room 3, the name Julian Assange is at the top of the list. So I find myself first in front of the door of the room, Doctor De Zulueta behind me, further on the psychiatrist Derek Summerfield, with our friends from our team around them. The head of the ushers, Rosie Sylvester, directs the operations and places us, 25 people, in single file in front of the room so as to clear the space in the corridor. As long as she’s there, I trust the rules are being followed. Problems can start when security guards find themselves alone under the fire of various demands and manipulations. In fact, today, those managing Room 3 are the same Mitie team that stood guard outside the door of Room 4 during the December 20 ghost hearing, which was procedurally flawed and potentially illegal. The security manager Mitie, who had the strange right to attend a closed-door hearing on 20 December, seconds the chief bailiff, but I have known since 18 November that when she is not present this man holds a power that he does not always put at the service of legal rules (incongruous presence at the closed-door hearing on 2 December where Julian Assange appeared, cooperation with Greekemmy to enforce his illegal lists…). Journalists have the privilege of sitting quietly on the chairs in the waiting room. There are more than 20 of them, almost the same as on January 13, except Moritz Muller of the German magazine “Nachdenkseiten” that I recognize because I saw his photo. It’s the first time I see him, he didn’t come before. Precisely, Greekemmy goes to see each journalist one by one, she talks to them and hands them a photocopy of an article from El Pais on the proceedings against UC Global in Spain. With Dr. Zulueleta we discuss the undeniable responsibility of Rafael Correa and his diplomatic staff, including Fidel Narvaez, in the management of this surveillance and the confinement of Julian Assange in apartment 3, Hans Crescent Street. It was then that I noticed Kristinn Hrafnsson sitting with the journalists next to the head of the “mementums” of the DefendWikileaks project John Rhees. Does he have a press card that he didn’t have on October 21, just like Joseph Farell? It is true that “Wikileaks” does not have a legal structure and is not a media outlet, so the website is not allowed to issue press cards. It is the “04 Wikileaks” project of the Wau Holland Foundation, but this German organisation is an association for training and user advocacy and not a media. Kristinn Hrafnsson is indeed a minority shareholder of the Icelandic company Sunshine Press Production created in 2010 but it is a film production company, not a publisher or a newspaper. Perhaps the CIJ, Centre for the Investigation of Journalism, takes on this task even though it is registered as a British charity and not as a media organisation.
Strange collective ritual
I think about it when the lawyers from both sides come into the hallway and walk past us. There is no “rustle of dresses” because in the “magistrate” courts the employees of justice dress in civilian clothes, but the black colour of the clothes as well as the theatrical aspect of their behaviour accentuate the effect of “sacrificial rite” that comes to mind when I remember all that I have been living in these places for the past 5 months. Clair Dobbin arrives with his second, then the “Americans”, the prosecution team in which I recognize the elderly man who refused to give me his status and name at the end of the hearing on December 19, 2019, lock themselves in the rooms marked “private” at the end of the corridor. They greet the group formed by Gareth Peirce, Edward Fitzgerald, Mark Summers and Alistar Lyon. In this group I am surprised to see Stella Morris and also the blonde woman who accompanied, on January 13, the young dark-haired boy that Morris coached on December 19 and 20. By the way, today I know the boy’s name: MC Mc Grath . He’s probably American, a graduate of Boston University, MIT. He’s a hacker, computer scientist and creator of the Transparency Toolkit website. He lives in Berlin, collaborates with Russia Today Germany, and has given lectures on its counter-espionage monitoring site. In my opinion, he cannot be a British trainee lawyer at the same time. So he doesn’t belong in this courtroom, or else I and my friends should be able to sit among the lawyers in the courtroom. These huge procedural flaws that should invalidate these shadows hearings of Julian Assange logically make me doubt the diplomas and qualities of the other lawyers: if the secretariat of the court registers any computer scientist as a lawyer, how can we believe that he has checked Stella Morris’ diploma or that Gareth Peirce still has the right to plead despite the fact that she is retired?
The feeling of taking part in a sacrificial ritual, rather than in a political trial crucial to the future of our freedoms on the European continent, then sets in and never leaves me. When I see Kristinn Hrafnsson and John Rhees waving a small plastic press card under the nose of one of Mitye’s agents, my tension rises a notch. I know that they have to be accredited and show their pink accreditation sheet and I remind the agent. Seeing me, Mitie’s manager takes matters into his own hands: he calls the bearers of the accreditation sheet and brings these journalists into the room. Then he brings the audience in. I sit in the front row to get a good view of the screen on both sides surrounded by my friends, the two psychiatrists and Paul on my right. Paul has lost his clumsy appearance, Greekemmy doesn’t manage him anymore and he plays a role that I understand as important. As the second row takes its place, I see that those without accreditation are still accepted by private security. They will even be allowed to use their phones to type their text while ours are strictly checked to stay off. When we notice the unequal treatment to the Mitye agent who is scrutinizing us, she tells us that they write with their machine. Faced with these people entering without accreditation, using forbidden telephones, I have the even clearer impression that the court is a room privatized by private interests in which a ceremony that has nothing to do with the official justice of the state takes place.
The feeling becomes almost certain when I see the Australian journalist who arrived early in the morning asking the “Americans” for their names one by one, a young man, two young women, the older brown man with the satisfied smile and Clair Dobbin’s usual collaborator. The Australian asks and immediately gets what we and our allies have never been able to get since we have been haunting these halls. Strange political trial where all the lawyers, judges and journalists checked by the world of Greekemmy know each other and work together as in the Polish proverb “Reka reke myje”, “the hand washes the hand”. The clerk of the registry wearing a veil seems very self-effacing, even though she does the job of calling “Julian Assange” on the video screen, remote control in hand. Similarly, the clerk behind her distant desk seems absent and preoccupied with managing the rest, the 20 Poles, Romanians and Slovaks whose extradition she has to manage after the end of the cumbersome meeting on Assange. It is five minutes to ten on the room’s clock. I am here to see Julian Assange and possibly to convey to him our messages through my thoughts, my heart and my eyes. Julian Assange seems to be alone in the face of the ceremony that disposes of his life.
Trial or video interrogation?
On the screen I first see a row of three red armchairs in a small room with blue or purple walls. The light is raw and distorts the perception of colours. In the distance on the wall there is a sign “HMP” but you can’t see the word “Belmarsh” written on it. The scene is filmed differently than usual. The camera is placed three metres from the chairs. “So we can’t see anything,” I thought to myself. Indeed, first a guard in a vaguely brown uniform enters the room. We’ve never been able to see the uniforms of the Belmarsh guards, those working at the entrance to the site are dressed in white shirts and black pants. The desire to show us that the prison is real seems obvious today. Then behind the small box window I can see the slender silhouette of Julian Assange, higher than his guard, walking with a not very confident walk. He enters the room and lets himself fall on the central armchair. My anger rises. They show him from so far away that you can’t see his face at all. You can’t make out the expressions on his face, his facial expressions, his facial expressions, so that you can’t see the traces of his suffering. Signs of torture. I can’t even tell how long his beard and hair are, or what his eyes are saying. In fact, it may not be him. How could we tell when we can barely see him under a dim light as if he were 100 metres away from us? Julian Assange is wearing a brown suit and I see dark sneakers at his feet and light socks. He is immediately motionless, puts his hands on his thighs, then crosses them in front of him, puts his right foot on his left knee and doesn’t move for a long time. As he enters he is carrying a backrest, but as soon as he is seated he puts the useless artifact on the seat next to him and does not touch it anymore, the pile of papers looks from afar like an illustrated magazine sitting in a waiting room.
But that’s when I notice that someone is sitting across from him off-camera. I can see a hand, a human form moving. Julian Assange is being watched during his trial by an invisible guard as if in an interrogation room. I am amazed by this scene which is so contrary to human rights, to the traditions of habeas corpus, to this whole long history of struggles for human rights here in England from the Middle Ages onwards. This history of struggle that I learned with passion as early as 1988 when I began my studies at the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw. How is it that we live such a regression, when since antiquity people have been fighting against royal arbitrariness and the right to justice means facing the judgment of men and God’s judgment in freedom, face to face, assuming one’s faults as well as proving one’s innocence? What is the value of the word of a man locked up in a cage that is going to be presented to the judge while his executioner or the policeman is staring at him? How can we still talk about a trial? I suggest the name ritual sacrifice, it seems more appropriate. Even the Inquisition, which knows about torture, took care to keep the appearance of a real trial in which the accused spoke freely as he confessed his sins and was sentenced to death. Without a trial, the death sentence is meaningless, and therefore the existence of the Inquisition is useless. You might as well kill the accused right away with a bullet to the head or a missile with a drone. For assassination to become justice, certain rules are needed. If this trial does not follow those rules, it is nothing more than a ritual slaughter. I am thinking of Polish Communist friends, of Mateusz Piskorski, who is being prosecuted and accused of espionage for daring to criticise American domination in Europe. I am thinking of myself and all my friends in the struggle. If Julian Assange is put to death at the end of this ritual without there being a chance of a real trial, then we will soon be next on the list.
While the “interrogator” betrays his presence by moving his hands in the foreground, Julian Assange, who can’t see the room, becomes agitated and can no longer hold on to the chair. He rubs his hands, touches his hair, looks to the right and left as if he wanted to take his gaze out of the interrogator’s field of vision, and then stops. He looks like he’s asleep, he flees from the intolerable by withdrawing inside himself. Meanwhile, Hrafnsson writes on his phone and then stares at Fitzgerald sitting in the front row between Gareth Peirce and Mark Summers, who remains silent. On the same bench next to them, Clair Dobbin sits upright like an I. Behind him, the American prosecution row. In the last shot, Alistar Lyon is next to Stella Morris, the other woman, and MC Mc Grath who takes no notes and doesn’t look at Assange. Vanessa Baraitser enters and begins the formal ceremony.
Pre-scheduled ritual or trial?
When asked to “formally identify yourself, you can hear me”, Julian Assange replied in a weary but less choppy voice than before, “Yes, I am Julian Assange, 3 July 1971”. And that is all he will say today as his life is decided in a relentless mechanics of final crushing. He does not have the strength to do more. We have known this since our doctor’s report on torture. This trial should never take place and the lawyers should boycott this deadly theatre and shout scandal everywhere until the end. They will not do that because it suits them to do things their way.
The prosecution begins the hostilities and for ten minutes Clair Dobbin talks to the judge in a firm voice. Her flow is fast and all my attention is focused on understanding her and taking notes. Dobbin recalls that the court decided on December 19 to give the prosecution until January 10 to present their “evidence” and to hold the “full extradition hearing” in February and March over 4 weeks. She believes that the prosecution has met these requirements. I hear the British representative of the US prosecution quoting “the United States” several times, stressing that “the USA” has responded, and then I am concerned when I understand that she repeats that US medical experts should examine Julian Assange. There is no way we are going to let that pass. Julian Assange is already seen by these people as a trapped game, I have been watching them for 5 months. You can see with the naked eye that his condition is deteriorating in English prisons, but it is not up to his worst enemies to decide whether or not he has been tortured – it is up to the British administration to take responsibility and up to the UN to ensure that he is treated in a truly neutral country far removed from Washington’s influence. In the West, these countries are not legion, France is one of those rare countries that does not have an American base on its soil and we have the associative and medical fabric to ensure the neutrality of this expertise.
For the moment Julian Assange remains impassive, strangely motionless as we talk about his life. I’m sure he can’t hear a thing. If we could prove that, the case should be dismissed on technicalities. I wonder about another strangeness: Clair Dobbin talks about the “United States” but only a legal body has the right to make an extradition request to the British government on the basis of the “Extradition Act” of 2003. This body is never cited and worse, the indictment has never been formally read. Will it finally be read on 24 February at the time of the final proceedings? A trial without an indictment seems really strange to me. If you add the procedural flaws that are legion, the impression of witnessing something distorted becomes stronger. Moreover, the Grand Jury that allegedly decided in secret to prosecute Julian Assange for espionage is a purely American political rather than judicial structure that has no equivalent in any other country. Does the bilateral extradition treaty recognize this institution as a legal body whose decisions should be enforced by British courts? I do not think so. In diplomacy nothing is automatic, everything is governed by the rule of reciprocity. If the Grand Jury has no equivalent in Great Britain, it is up to the British prosecutor to formulate this indictment against someone who is neither an American nor a British citizen and who is not protected by the consular law of his own country. If Julian Assange were Polish, Tunisian or Greek, his country’s consul would have been obliged to visit him in prison and to be present, in this room, with us. There is no Australian consul in Britain and this situation sheds a harsh light on Australia’s colonial status vis-à-vis Britain.
Clair Dobbin and Vanessa Baraitser are embarking on a long dialogue on the extradition calendar. I hear them talking about Prosecutor Lewis, who is busy with cases in Northern Ireland and unavailable in February. For us, Julian Assange’s lawyers, the prosecutor’s work is of no concern to us, and I wonder why a court spends so much time on it, as if we were in a secretariat and discussing planning among executive assistants. Nevertheless, I understand that Dobbin proposes to divide the “kill” programs in two and again Baraitser agrees as if it were a foregone conclusion. We’re heading for May 18, when everything will be decided after a week of “mise en bouche” from February 24 to 29. I’m very worried, I’m watching the reaction of Julian Assange’s lawyers but a man approaches the clerk’s office and hides the protagonists. I can only note that Julian Assange is asleep on the box seat, his body leaning slightly to the right side. Last week his right leg gave out as he was walking. What if he’d had a mild stroke? That would also explain his speech difficulties. Hrafnsson and Rhees stare at Fitzgerald, but don’t react to this surprising change in events. Do they already know about it?
Edward Fitzgerald finally has the floor, he stands up and instead of starting a strong diatribe in defence of his client, he states that he supports the prosecution in its proposal to “divide the hearings”! He even seems to be in complete harmony with Clair Dobbin, he looks at her in all connivance, she is standing up too, and they look at each other from a distance of one meter in all agreement. I don’t see why not. After all, in real life they are colleagues, lawyers in the same field, working together on some cases, competing on others. It would be natural for them to date in private, eat together or more. This is why usually in political trials victims fight to have cases moved to courts in other cities to avoid collusion of interests due to the inevitable proximity of local life. Edward Fitzgerald does his job, however, by asking for “more time for evidence”, more time to present the evidence. The evidence is the witnesses who have to appear. He speaks of a “significant” number of witnesses, he cites witnesses designated by numbers, witnesses 4, 6, 12, without their names or initials. The twelfth witness is key because it is related to the “spanish procedure”. Baraitser also seems to be interested in this trial in Spain and to accept the importance of all the witnesses from this procedure. Why is that? The mere leaking of the surveillance videos cannot mechanically hinder the extradition procedure. Moreover, we still don’t know who the plaintiff is and whether Julian Assange is a witness or a victim, and who has been named, and above all by whom, as a suspect.
From an oratory point of view, Mr Fitzgerald is not very good: he stammers, stutters, has trouble finishing his sentences. Sometimes his speech takes on surrealistic accents when he says he is waiting for “instructions” from Julian Assange, while Julian Assange does not look at him and struggles to stay upright on his seat without falling down. I wonder how he would be able to give instructions if he is not in good enough health to attend his trial. I get irritated when Mr. Fitzgerald evades the issue of Julian Assange’s health with a “we are not in the position to face the medical background of Julian Assange”. This attitude revolts me when he has Julian Assange’s life in his hands for which he can demand an independent medical report and release on health grounds.
On the contrary, Edward Fitzgerald, under the watchful eye of Gareth Peirce, goes into the extradition schedule, discusses with the judge the deadlines for the submission of evidence, asserts that some witnesses are “not available” and that the “spanish witness”, Spanish witnesses, are the most important. The judge commented on the details, asking for the availability of witnesses number 10, 11 and 12. The lawyer says that there is a large volume of documents to read and that it would take another week in March. We are again in the “executive secretary” mood as Julian Assange slumps more and more in his chair. Fitzgerald promises to submit the list of witnesses by February 1 and to ensure, he hopes, that they will all testify. In a stutter, he emphasized that he needed time to “take instructions from Mr. Assange,” explain the publications and give the witnesses time to check their availability. He asks for three or four weeks of trial and one day per person to allow each witness to summarize his or her position. From a formal point of view, it is always annoying to hear negative expressions in lawyers’ speeches that should be broken with political jousts. At present, I find it hard to bear hearing about “extreme complexity”, or “great difficulties” or “not easy process”. But Kristinn Hrafnsson seems satisfied with the way things are going. Julian Assange, on the other hand, seems less and less concerned, he looks down, so he doesn’t see the Court, doesn’t react to anything, and above all he doesn’t touch the file that is supposed to represent his defence and that lies on the seat next to him. I can see the extreme sadness on his face.
Mr. Fitzgerald, however, assures us that he wants to “involve Mr. Assange at every stage of the proceedings”, whatever his “medical background”. (I have difficulty understanding the latter expression. Either the accused is capable of participating in his trial or not. If not, the trial must be adjourned and the person treated, I don’t see a third way legally speaking). When Fitzgerald begins to say that the “US must answer to the witnesses” and finally talks about examining the validity of the extradition procedure under the 2003 treaty, Clair Dobbin takes the floor again and easily contradicts him by demanding that the time limits be shortened. Then Vanessa Baraitser summarizes what they agree on (the dates of February and those of May) and lists the non-agreements. And she orders a recess.
“Gentlemen and ladies counsel, please… »
We keep our eyes on Julian Assange who is almost lying on the box seat. But the security guards kick us out of the gym rather abruptly. It’s 11:00 a.m. and they announce that the hearing is to resume at 11:15 and then at 11:30. That’s tough. We have to pick up our bags and go out to stand in front of the door again to face Greekemmy who doesn’t miss a chance to push us out. Naomi Colvin is even so sure of her status that she will try to get in with the lawyers before being prevented from doing so in extremis by an agent. I believe that this kind of drama is designed to keep us out of the negotiation and agreement between lawyers, prosecution and judge. It is as simple as that.
I get very tired and tired and tired when we are allowed to come back into the room. The security guards get rougher and force us to sit at the back of the box and from there we no longer see Julian on the screen on the right. Dobbin attacks immediately, setting the dates of February 14, 20 and March 27 with 3 weeks of prosecution and defense response. Fitzgerald agrees. He repeats the importance of the “spanish issues”. As the lawyers do not inform us of anything, we will have to do our own investigation in Spain. The judge agrees. Meanwhile, poor Julian Assange remains apathetic, his hands slumped on his knees, he has a grin of pain on his face – with concentration, I can finally distinguish his features better. Joseph Farell, sitting among the journalists, takes out a small telescope from his pocket and scrutinizes his former project manager coldly. Vanessa Baraitser is satisfied. She turns to the screen and aloud informs us of the programme: 19 February, the last “case management hearing”, with a videolink that will also serve to prolong the detention, then the “full extradition hearing” in Woolwich in the week of 24 February, possibly until 2 March, then three weeks from 18 May. But she forgot to make sure that the accused understood what was happening to her and she is getting out. The hearing is over. I don’t want to and I will at least remind the lawyers of this procedural irregularity which should have allowed them to have the whole hearing cancelled. In French, I say to the room, “Gentlemen, ladies, can you ask Julian Assange if he has understood what is going to happen to him? A muffled noise reacts to my intervention, which I shouted in a loud voice, fed up with passively watching the killing of the sacrificial lamb. There are limits to everything. Some activists and the psychiatrist ask me to repeat in English. But Rosie Sylvester grabs my arm and threatens to ban me from the courtyard. I apologize to her, because she is trying so hard to make this strange place respect some basic rules.
But I think it’s too much emotion for me. We go out and find the friends who couldn’t get in. Some of them manage to talk to Mr. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Peirce. Fitzgerald assures them that Julian is perfectly all right and that he sees him every day whenever he wants to. This is totally contradictory to what Gareth Peirce has been repeating in every tone since October before us, that it is almost impossible for her to make the “legal visit” to Julian Assange. As for her health, everyone can see it now. Doctor De Zulueta was very moved by Julian Assange’s visible suffering and expressed her emotion during the forced break. So, which of the lawyers is lying in this case?
Gareth Peirce assured our friend J. to work for free, “pro bono”. However, as soon as the hearing was over, Joseph Farell called in front of the cameras to donate money on the site of the Courage Foundation, money intended to ensure the defense of Julian Assange. Courage is a project of the Wau Holland Foundation and it is to this German structure that citizens are invited to donate money to pay Julian Assange’s lawyers via the website https://wauland.de/en/projects/moral-courage/. However, for non-tax-exempt donations, the Courage project managers advise people to send their money by transfer to a New York bank, the recipient’s address being Courage Foundation, 201 Varick St., P.O. Box #766, New York, NY 10014, USA . We have a problem with people of good will being called upon to send their money to the United States to a country that is legally suing Julian Assange and in fact persecuting him. How is it that the collaborators of the Wikileaks project who are the founders of the Courage foundation, Sarah Harrison for example, did not see the contradiction and the danger that immediately jumps out at us? Setting up the headquarters of the Courage Foundation, which is supposed to defend Julian Assange, in the United States, the country most hostile to Julian Assange, is in fact putting in danger the citizens supporting Julian Assange and all the opponents of the war policies of the United States because it will allow the American state to file the coordinates of these opponents, especially European ones, through the control of their financial donations.
I am not opposed to a good lawyer being paid for, among other things, the assurance that he or she is able to devote himself or herself fully to the task. I am very much in favour of donations being made by citizens to Julian Assange to help him or her pay for an effective lawyer. But Julian Assange is not the president or even a director of the Courage and Jail Foundation, he is not in a position to decide anything in this matter. Those who manage the Courage Foundation and collect donations from citizens must accept citizen control over the use of those donations. This is all the more urgent as the laws in Europe are clear: only donations can be collected from European citizens if they are made to an organisation that has an official seat in a European country and is duly registered under the laws of that country. The place of registration of this type of organisation may vary (Prefecture for France, court for Poland, register of charitable organisations for Great Britain) but everywhere the legal obligations are the same: publication of activity and financial statements every year so that the amount of donations and their use is public. It is not normal that the Courage foundation collecting donations for the defence of Julian Assange escapes the obligations of European laws of transparency and therefore citizen control. We call on the legal directors of the Courage Foundation to take their responsibility to repatriate the headquarters of the foundation to Europe and to publish the financial statements of the institution. The credibility of their action is at stake. Julian Assange’s life is at stake!