European election candidate Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party), has condemned the arrest of Julian Assange this morning in the UK, and called for stronger European protections for whistleblowers.
Cllr. Ryan said:
“Assange’s arrest was, according the UK policy, carried out ‘on behalf of the US government,’ and in relation to charges which the US has refused to reveal. This is an astonishing breach of every democratic and legal norm.”
“With the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, and today’s arrest, the United States has demonstrated it will go to unimaginable lengths to silence anybody who blows the whistle on its military aggression and and egregious invasions of personal privacy. Meanwhile, European governments have effectively allied themselves to US national security policy by refusing to protect these whistle blowers.”
Cllr. Ryan continued:
“Assange now faces extradition into an effective black hole in the United States, to face charges that may never be made known to the public. Nobody in their right mind could argue he will get a fair trial.
“The episode demonstrates why the late Seán Garland, and a wide breadth of political supporters in Ireland, fought against his own extradition so hard, and refused to trust the UK government to uphold his rights at that time.”
Cllr. Ryan concluded:
“A European government has shown it is willing to arrest and extradite an individual to the United States – one of the least fair and harshest criminal justice systems in the world – on the basis of charges which are sealed and secret. This represents an enormous and immediate deterioration in democratic freedoms in the UK and Europe.
“There is an urgent need for a Europe-wide agreement protecting whistleblowers against extradition to the United States.”