‘The Belmarsh Tribunal’ “puts the ‘war on terror’ on trial” as it gathers leading figures from the global left in support of Julian Assange against state persecution, ahead of extradition hearing
A major event in support of Julian Assange will gather whistleblowers, leading figures from the left and supporters of freedom of information including MPs Apsana Begum and Jeremy Corbyn, ‘Pentagon Papers’ whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, renowned filmmaker Ken Loach and former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, to ‘put the war on terror on trial’ next week to ‘turn the tables’ on the latest extradition hearing at the end of this month.
Wikileaks founder Assange is fighting an attempt to extradite him for exposing US war crimes – an attempt that continues despite the collapse of the US government’s case when its key witness admitted he been lying, a development all but ignored by the UK media’s coverage and which, scandalously, did not immediately prompt the UK court to throw out the entire case.
The introduction for the event outlines its aims and context – including recently-revealed US plans to murder Assange if it could not take get him out of Britain:
The War on Terror is put on trial in London through the Belmarsh Tribunal
Just after the bombshell revelations about the CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange while he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the Progressive International comes to London with the first physical Belmarsh Tribunal. The intervention comes ahead of Assange’s extradition proceedings, which are set to continue in London’s High Court from 27 to 28 October 2021.
Inspired by the famous Russell-Sartre people’s tribunal, the Belmarsh Tribunal places the War on Terror on trial and holds the US government accountable for its war crimes. It is named for the London prison that has held Assange in permanent confinement for the last two years, as he faces extradition to the US, whose government plotted his assassination. The Belmarsh Tribunal will hold its first physical proceedings in London on the 22 of October 2021 at the Convocation Hall, Church House, Westminster, which was used for sittings of parliament during the Second World War.
The Belmarsh Tribunal will gather leading figures from politics, the law and journalism, to shed light at the US crimes that were revealed by WikiLeaks – torture, violence, illegal spying – but also to speak about the existing crimes of both US and UK against Julian Assange for exposing their illegal and unjustifiable actions.
After the revelations about the murderous CIA plans to kill a publisher and journalist on British soil, not only the current US government but also the UK government must be held responsible for still keeping Assange in prison”, says philosopher Srećko Horvat, cabinet member of the Progressive International and one of the founders of the Belmarsh Tribunal.
The Biden administration should drop the charges against Assange and the UK government should free him immediately and end the suffering and torture of a courageous man who has comitted no crime. In a society in which telling the truth becomes a crime, we are all accomplices of crime as long as Assange is in prison.”
Wikileaks exposed crimes of US empire in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond. At the Belmarsh Tribunal, we will turn the world the right way up, placing crimes of war, torture, kidnapping and a litany of other gross human rights abuses on trial,” says Jeremy Corbyn, Progressive International council member and member of the Belmarsh Tribunal.
The perpetrators of these crimes walk free, often still prominent public figures in the US, U.K. and elsewhere. They should be held accountable for the lives they destroyed and the futures they stole.”
Tribunal members so far confirmed include:
- Tariq Ali
Historian and original member of The Russell-Sartre Tribunal
- Renata Ávila
CEO, Open Knowledge Foundation
- Apsana Begum MP
- Richard Burgon MP
- Jeremy Corbyn MP and Peace and Justice Project founder
- Rafael Correa, former President of Ecuador (2007-2017)
- Özlem Demirel MEP
- Deepa Govindarajan Driver, university Lecturer and legal observer at Assange’s extradition hearings
- Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower, Pentagon Papers
- Selay Ghaffar, spokesperson for the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan
- Markéta Gregorová MEP
- Heike Hänsel, Member of the Bundestag
- Srećko Horvat, philosopher, Council member of the Progressive International, Co-Founder of DiEM25
- Ken Loach, Filmmaker
- Annie Machon, former intelligence officer for MI5, Whistleblower
- Stefania Maurizi, investigative journalist at Il Fatto Quotidiano
- John McDonnell MP
- Yanis Varoufakis, Member of Hellenic Parliament and co-founder of DiEM25
- Ben Wizner, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and lead attorney for Edward Snowden
- Eyal Weizman, Director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths
The event will take place at the Convocation Hall in Westminster and online. Reservations have now opened and tickets can be booked here.
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