Peace activist Maria Gallestegui drew attention to the plight of imprisoned journalist Julian Assange yesterday in a bold protest action at the high security Belmarsh Prison where he has been held for more than three years.
Wandering across a car park to the prison wall, she first used a blood-red paint spray to write “Priti Patel – Save Julian Assange”. As prison guards grappled with her, she tried to drill a symbolic hole in the wall with a power tool, before throwing some paint bombs.
Before the action, Maria issued a statement under the name ‘The Hole In The Wall Gang’ outlining the reason for her action and her support for Julian Assange (see below).
The Home Secretary is due to make a decision on extraditing Julian Assange next Wednesday 18th May.
Maria was arrested at Belmarsh Prison under suspicion of committing criminal damage.
Statement in support of Julian Assange, who is being held as a prisoner but is not charged with any crime in the UK.
Julian Assange has been in Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison for over 3 years without charge. He has been accused by the US government of Espionage, but has not been charged with any crime in the UK. Despite this, he remains incarcerated while the US has sought his extradition.
Julian Assange’s so-called crime was to publish records of war crimes leaked to him from Whistleblowers who shone a spotlight on US operations and the reality of the ‘war on terror’. Most infamously, this uncovered the ‘collateral damage’ footage of US drone operators knowingly and mercilessly killing innocent civilians, children and war journalists.
The UK Government must think very carefully before making the final decision to extradite Julian Assange to the US.
Journalists, Speak up for Julian Assange state:
” In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy. If governments can use espionage laws against journalists and publishers, they are deprived of their most important and traditional defense – of acting in the public interest – which does not apply under the Espionage Act.”
To allow the extradition of Julian Assange directly threatens the freedom to express and print – without fear or favour – affecting journalists in their duty to investigate and expose the truth.
The extradition would send a chilling message to journalists and others gathering evidence to investigate war crimes. It threatens initiatives that seek to see justice for civilians unwillingly caught up in conflict.
The sad irony is that the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the US States is to Protect Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.
That’s exactly what Julian Assange was doing !!
THE TRUTH DOES MATTER
We publicly urge Priti Patel, Home Secretary, to disallow the extradition and free Julian Assange back to his wife and family.
History will thank you.
The Hole in the Wall Gang.