‘Merry Christmas Mr Assange’ to paraphrase the title of a film. Readers may remember the film set in a Japanese prisoner of war camp starring the late David Bowie.
Thoughts of the movie occurred to me in relation to Australian citizen, journalist and publisher Julian Assange who remains incarcerated in Her Majestys High Security Prison Belmarsh.
We were hoping for Julian to be free and reunited with his family by Christmas. Now we hear he recently suffered a minor stroke. It’s becoming even more a matter of life and death for Julian Assange.
In response to the gut wrenching decision brought down by the British court to allow his extradition to the US, we have seen an editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s article calling for justice for Julian, and an endless stream of comment and concerns expressed on social media.
It would appear that the campaign to Free Assange and for the Biden administration to Drop The Charges is building up a head of steam. Could it be that journalists, publishers and the media industry in general are realising the implications for them of the continuing persecution of Assange? Are they now growing nervous for the future of their profession and for their right to say what they think needs to be said in the public interest? If there is a big public campaign to make this an election issue in 2022, perhaps the same could be said of politicians in this country.
So as a Christmas gesture to Julian and his family and the principles he is sacrificing so much for, help make this an election issue: contact your local MP and your Senator and let them know, in as many ways as you can, of your concerns for Julian Assange. Urge them to join their 27 colleagues in the Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home Group and demand the Morrison government take a stand on behalf of an Australian citizen and end the harsh, cruel and unjust treatment he continues to be subjected to. Remind them 2022 is an election year and unless there is some resolution to his case we will do all in our power to make the dropping of the charges against Julian Assange, and his release, an election issue. That may get their attention.