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Ecuador: Grant Political Asylum Now to Julian Assange

As concerned citizens of the world well know, the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is currently inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, in London, England, having gone there to ask for political asylum. I want to add my voice to the many people of conscience around the world in urging President Correa of Ecuador to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.

The British courts shamefully refused Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning accused of sexual molestation. No criminal charges have been made against him. Mr. Assange has said he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but only in England. He has good reason not to want to be extradited to Sweden, as he could find himself imprisoned in solitary confinement, and then very likely extradited to a U.S. prison.

American media have reported that the U.S. Justice Department and the Pentagon have conducted a criminal investigation into “whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act.”

Mr. Assange’s only crime is that he cared enough about people to respect their right to truth, and had the courage and bravery to print the truth. In the process, he embarrassed powerful governments.

The WikiLeaks release of thousands of U.S. State Department Cables, and especially the 2007 video footage from a U.S. Apache helicopter which appears to show U.S. military deliberately killing civilians, including two Reuters employees, reveals the United States’ crimes against humanity.

For this “truth telling,” Julian Assange has inherited the wrath of the U.S. government, and has been targeted in a most vindictive way, as has Private Bradley Manning.

I support the right of WikiLeaks to publish leaked information, as it is in the interest of the world’s public and their right to know. WikiLeaks were not the leakers or whistleblowers; they are an on-line news media.

Many believe there are people in high places who wish to punish Julian Assange for outing them, and to force others to remain silent, and that they will not rest until Mr. Assange is behind bars in the United States.

There are even some American politicians who have put Mr. Assange’s life in grave danger by calling for him to be assassinated.

It is ironic that Julian Assange’s basic human rights have been breached when he as a journalist dedicated to working for the people’s right to freedom of speech, and a free press. The Australian, Swedish and U.K. governments have a responsibility to see this “man of courage” is treated fairly and with justice and that he be allowed to tell his story in the U.K. when he can prove whether the incompetent and contradictory accusations against him are true or false.

As world citizens, we all need to support Julian Assange. He tried to protect the innocent by outing the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. They are the ones who one day should be made accountable for their crimes.

It must be asked: If Julian Assange ends up in an American prison for a long time, in grave danger to his life, and maybe even under the death penalty, Who’s next? Where goes freedom, human rights and justice?

I urge President Correa of Ecuador to grant safe political asylum to Julian Assange. Thank you.

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Mairead Maguire

Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:

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