The Persecution, Incarceration, Torture and Extra-Territorial Extradition of Julian Assange: Template for a letter to your Member of Parliament

This is a template for an e-mail in response to the United Nations report published last month on the collective persecution of Julian Assange, to be sent to the Members of Parliament and Peers who signed a letter to the Home Secretary calling for the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden in violation of numerous legal procedures in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ecuador and the United States of America. If you live in the constituency of one of these MPs (whose names and e-mail addresses are listed below), and you object to your representative in the House of Commons colluding in the illegal persecution, incarceration, torture and extra-territorial extradition of Julian Assange, or if you wish, as a UK citizen, to write to the signatories of this letter and demand their resignation from their positions for engaging in such activity, please feel free to use this template.

cc. Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, e-mail: sajid.javid.mp@parliament.uk
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Her Majestys Official Opposition, e-mail: jeremy.corbyn.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer you to the following report by Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, published on 31 May 2019:

‘My most urgent concern is that, in the United States, Mr. Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

‘I am particularly alarmed at the recent announcement by the US Department of Justice of 17 new charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act, which currently carry up to 175 years in prison. This may well result in a life sentence without parole, or possibly even the death penalty, if further charges were to be added in the future.

‘Since 2010, when Wikileaks started publishing evidence of war crimes and torture committed by US forces, we have seen a sustained and concerted effort by several States towards getting Mr. Assange extradited to the United States for prosecution, raising serious concern over the criminalisation of investigative journalism in violation of both the US Constitution and international human rights law.

‘Since then, there has been a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.

‘In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.

‘Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years. Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.

‘The evidence is overwhelming and clear. Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.

‘I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr. Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity. By displaying an attitude of complacency at best, and of complicity at worst, these governments have created an atmosphere of impunity encouraging Mr. Assange’s uninhibited vilification and abuse.

‘In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!’

The Special Rapporteur added that he was gravely concerned that the limited frequency and duration of lawyers’ visits, and Julian Assange’s lack of access to case files and documents, make it impossible for him to adequately prepare his defence in any of the complex legal proceedings piling up against him. In official letters, Nils Melzer urged the governments of the UK, the US, Sweden and Australia to refrain from further disseminating, instigating or tolerating statements or other activities prejudicial to Assange’s human rights and dignity, and to take measures to provide him with appropriate redress and rehabilitation for past harm. He further appealed to the British Government not to extradite Assange to the US, or to any other State failing to provide reliable guarantees against his onward transfer to the United States, which Sweden has failed to do. He also reminded the UK of its obligation to ensure Assange’s unimpeded access to legal counsel, documentation and adequate preparation commensurate with the complexity of the pending proceedings.

An example, continuation and escalation of the persecution of Julian Assange described in such detail by the UN Special Rapporteur is the letter written by Labour MP Stella Creasy dated 12 April, 2019, which was signed by 56 Members of the House of Commons and 12 Peers in the House of Lords, including yourself, and sent to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, demanding that Assange be extradited to Sweden to face trial on the allegation of rape.

I am writing to request and demand that you:

  1. Respond to the United Nations charges of the extra-legal persecution, incarceration and psychological torture of Julian Assange in violation of his human rights under Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 7 (no punishment without law) of the Human Rights Act 1998;
  2. Explain your reasons for colluding in activity that will contribute to Julian Assanges extra-territorial extradition, without provision of prima facie evidence and in numerous violations of legal procedure, to the United States of America, where he will face trial on charges of espionage under a legal system to which, as an Australian citizen, a political asylee in the Ecuadorian Embassy, a naturalised citizen of Ecuador, and finally a prisoner of the UK, he is not subject, and which are punishable by up to 175 years imprisonment in conditions of solitary confinement, psychological torture and enforced labour in contravention of Article 7 (No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the UK is a signatory, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which the USA has refused to ratify;
  3. Resign, with immediate effect, from your position as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons / Peer in the House of Lords on the grounds that you have engaged in illegal and unethical actions while exercising this role.

Yours sincerely

List of signatories to the letter by Stella Creasy MP 

House of Commons

  1. Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, e-mail: stella@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk
  2. Adrian Bailey, Labour MP for Bromwich West, e-mail: cromptonm@parliament.uk
  3. Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South, e-mail: alison.mcgovern.mp@parliament.uk
  4. Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, e-mail: alison.thewliss.mp@parliament.uk
  5. Angela Smith, Independent MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, e-mail: officeofangelasmithmp@parliament.uk
  6. Ann Coffey, Change UK MP for Stockport, e-mail: ann.coffey.mp@parliament.uk
  7. Anna McMorrin, Labour MP for Cardiff North, e-mail: anna.mcmorrin.mp@parliament.uk
  8. Anna Soubry, Change UK MP for Broxtowe, e-mail: anna.soubry.mp@parliament.uk
  9. Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, e-mail: bradshawb@parliament.uk
  10. Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, e-mail: ben.lake.mp@parliament.uk
  11. Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North, e-mail: catherine.mckinnell.mp@parliament.uk
  12. Chuka Umunna, Liberal Democrat MP for Streatham, e-mail: chuka.umunna.mp@parliament.uk
  13. Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central, e-mail: dan.jarvis.mp@parliament.uk
  14. Darren Jones, Labour MP for Bristol North West, e-mail: darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk
  15. Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North, e-mail: johnsond@parliament.uk
  16. Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, e-mail: emma.reynolds.mp@parliament.uk
  17. Gavin Shuker, Independent MP for Luton South, e-mail: gavin.shuker.mp@parliament.uk
  18. Ged Killen, Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, e-mail: ged.killen.mp@parliament.uk
  19. Heidi Allan, Independent MP for South Cambridgeshire, e-mail: heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk
  20. Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, e-mail: ian.murray.mp@parliament.uk
  21. Janet Daby, Labour MP for Lewisham East, e-mail: janet.daby.mp@parliament.uk
  22. Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, e-mail: jess.phillips.mp@parliament.uk
  23. Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Canning Town, e-mail: jim.fitzpatrick.mp@parliament.uk
  24. Jo Swinson, Liberal-Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, e-mail: jo.swinson.mp@parliament.uk
  25. Joan Ryan, Change UK for Enfield North, e-mail: joan.ryan.mp@parliament.uk
  26. John Woodcock, Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, e-mail: john.woodcock.mp@parliament.uk
  27. Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, e-mail: buckk@parliament.uk
  28. Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, e-mail: barronk@parliament.uk
  29. Layla Moran,  Liberal-Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, e-mail: layla.moran.mp@parliament.uk
  30. Lillian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, e-mail: lilian.greenwood.mp@parliament.uk
  31. Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West, e-mail: liz.kendall.mp@parliament.uk
  32. Luciana Berger, Independent MP for Liverpool Wavertree, e-mail: luciana.berger.mp@parliament.uk
  33. Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, e-mail: contact@lucypowell.org.uk
  34. Martin Whitfield, Labour MP for East Lothian, e-mail: martin.whitfield.mp@parliament.uk
  35. Mike Gapes, British Change UK MP for Ilford South, e-mail: mike.gapes.mp@parliament.uk
  36. Nic Dakin, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, e-mail: nic.dakin.mp@parliament.uk
  37. Nick Boles, Independent MP for Grantham and Stamford, e-mail: nick.boles.mp@parliament.uk
  38. Pat McFadden,  Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, e-mail: mcfaddenp@parliament.uk
  39. Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, e-mail: peter.kyle.mp@parliament.uk
  40. Phil Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield, e-mail: phil.wilson.mp@parliament.uk
  41. Roberta Blackman Woods, Labour MP for City of Durham, e-mail: woodsr@parliament.uk
  42. Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, e-mail: rosie.duffield.mp@parliament.uk
  43. Ruth Cadbury, Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth, e-mail: ruthcadburymp@parliament.uk
  44. Sam Gymiach, Conservative MP for East Surrey, e-mail: sam@samgyimah.com
  45. Sarah Wollaston, Independent MP for Totnes, e-mail: sarah.wollaston.mp@parliament.uk
  46. Seema Malhotra, Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, e-mail: seema.malhotra.mp@parliament.uk
  47. Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, e-mail: sharon.hodgson.mp@parliament.uk
  48. Stephanie Peacock, Labour MP for Barnsley East, e-mail: stephanie.peacock.mp@parliament.uk
  49. Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, e-mail: stephen.doughty.mp@parliament.uk
  50. Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, e-mail: stephen.kinnock.mp@parliament.uk
  51. Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, e-mail: mccabes@parliament.uk
  52. Teresa Pearce, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, e-mail: teresa.pearce.mp@parliament.uk
  53. Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, e-mail: thangam.debbonaire.mp@parliament.uk
  54. Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour MP for Gower, e-mail: tonia.antoniazzi.mp@parliament.uk
  55. Wera Hobhouse,  Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, e-mail: office@werahobhouse.co.uk
  56. Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, e-mail: wes.streeting.mp@parliament.uk

House of Lords

  1. Kay Andrews, Labour Peer, e-mail: contactholmember@parliament.uk
  2. Helen Liddle, Labour Peer, Coatdyke, e-mail: liddellh@parliament.uk
  3. Ruth Lister, Labour Peer, Burtersett, e-mail: listerr@parliament.uk
  4. Meta Ramsey, Labour Peer, e-mail: contactholmember@parliament.uk
  5. Ann Taylor, Labour Peer, Bolton, e-mail: taylora@parliament.uk
  6. Margaret Prosser, Labour Peer, e-mail: prosserm@parliament.uk
  7. Clive Brooke, Labour Peer, Alverthorpe, e-mail: contactholmember@parliament.uk
  8. George Foulkes, Labour Peer, Cumnock, e-mail: foulkesg@parliament.uk
  9. Jonathan Harris, Labour Peer, Haringey, e-mail: harrist@parliament.uk
  10. Roy Kennedy, Labour Peer, Southwark, e-mail: kennedyro@parliament.uk
  11. James Knight, Labour Peer, Weymouth, e-mail: knightja@parliament.uk
  12. George Robertson, Labour Peer, Port Ellen, e-mail: robertsong@parliament.uk

Please remember, when sending your e-mail, to copy in both Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary and recipient of the letter by Stella Creasy, Jeremy Corbyn, the Official Leader of the Opposition (both of whose e-mails address are given at the top of this template), as well as your own MP if they are not one of the signatories. You can find the e-mail of your local MP here. Should you receive a response to your e-mail, please copy its contents into the website of the Courage Foundation, where your personal details will be kept confidential.

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