Pope meets wife of journalist Assange jailed for exposing US war crimes

Francis welcomed Stella Assange, who arrived at the Vatican with her two children, Julian’s mother and brother. (AFP)

The newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano has issued a letter calling for Assange’s release and demanding that the Italian government take action to prevent the extradition of the journalist, persecuted since 2010, “while not punishing the torturers denounced by WikiLeaks”. given”

Pope Francis met at the Vatican on Friday (30) with the wife and relatives of journalist Julian Assange, the world’s No. 1 political prisoner who is on the verge of being extradited to the US on charges of “espionage”. Documenting and publishing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, threatens 175 years in prison. Stella also attended an event in Rome calling for Assange’s release with MPs and journalists.

“This morning, Pope Francis granted me and our children a private visit. We are thrilled,” Stella Assange posted. She revealed that the Pope had sent a letter to her husband in March 2021 when he was going through a difficult time. After spending seven years as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​Assange has been held for almost four years at the Belmarsh maximum security prison, considered the “British Guantanamo”.

“The Pope has given us great comfort and strength and we are very grateful for the way he addressed our family. He understands the pain Julian is feeling and he is concerned,” she told The Associated Press. The hearing was also attended by Stella, her two young children Gabriel and Max, and Assange’s mother and brother. The Vatican closed the hearing without giving details. informed of.

In “The Assange Case and the Right to Truth Act” Stella said that “what is at stake is the fate of journalism and democracy”. He condemned the constant harassment of Washington and the hideous farce of the English courts against the journalist.

“It is a political matter, not a legal one. Because what he did was just to expose the crimes committed by the states, the killings of civilians and all the details of illegal wars.

Order of Italian journalists honors Assange

Carlo Bartoli, president of the National Order of Journalists, announced to attendees that Julian Assange would receive an honorary journalist card from the unit. “We are here not only to defend the interests of a person who has been unjustly imprisoned, but also to defend the principle that is freedom of information.”

One of the major Italian newspapers, Il Fatto Quotidiano, joined the campaign for Assange’s immediate release, publishing an open letter that received over 20,000 adhesions within hours.

“Although Assange has not been a free man since 2010, the perpetrators of the atrocities denounced by WikiLeaks enjoy their families without any problems. The world is turned upside down: free criminals and journalists who had the courage to condemn him were imprisoned forever”, the Italian newspaper’s letter said.

Enough silence, we need il fatto quotidiano

The letter urged the Italian government and parliament to “take action internationally, including the European Parliament, to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange and to definitively close the case.”

“The silence of the Italian institutions on this matter is impressive. While appeals from civil society are growing, the horrific injustice against an innocent person and the destruction of press freedom are facts that do not concern the Italian Republic and its institutions.

“His only crime? The truth is out.” He and his WikiLeaks colleagues “published secret US government documents revealing war crimes and torture from Afghanistan to Iraq and Guantanamo,” Il Fatto’s letter outlines.

“Hundreds of legislators from major democracies such as England, Germany, Brazil and the United States have called on the Biden administration to close the case. The most recent initiative dates back to April 11: US Congressmen Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamal Bowman, Corey Bush, Greg Kaiser, Ilhan Omar and Ayana Pressly took action”, states the Italian daily.

Freedom for Assange!

On the same day, more than 2,000 academics, political leaders, businessmen and unions in Brazil sent a letter to President Lula asking for political asylum for the Australian journalist. About a week earlier, President Lula had strongly defended Assange’s freedom on his trip to Europe.

Other world leaders have also spoken out against Assange’s extradition and for his release. Such as Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Kirchner and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

In this sense, artists and intellectuals such as Roger Waters, Lady Gaga, Brian Eno, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Yannis Varoufakis expressed themselves. Also included are Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Illegal Detention.

Directors of some of the world’s leading newspapers – and which also published the documents submitted by WikiLeaks in 2010 – such as The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (England), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El Pais ( Spain) sent a letter to the US government asking them to end the harassment of Assange because “publication is not a crime”.

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