Continued imprisonment of Julian Assange an attack on press freedom - Senator Paul Gavan
Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called for the release of Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in Britain.
Mr Assange has now been in jail for two years, has been refused bail and is awaiting an appeal from the United States government against a decision to refuse his extradition.
If convicted on charges of espionage, he faces up to 175 years in jail. Senator Gavan added that Mr Assange's continued imprisonment is an attack on press freedom, and echoed calls from the NUJ, the Washington Post and New York Times for the charges to be dropped.
Senator Gavan said:
“Julian’s only 'crime' was to reveal to the world the truth of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"If it wasn’t for Julian, we would not know about horrific acts like the US Apache helicopter, which in 2010 gunned down 18 civilians in Baghdad. In that particular incident, when a van arrived to take away the wounded, the same gunship opened fire on them too.
“This is just one example from the thousands of files that were released detailing war crimes, including the countless murder of citizens in both of those countries, and torture in Guantanamo.
“It is time to end the silence over the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange. I am calling today for his freedom and for an urgent debate on this issue.
"I call on people from across all parties to stand up for democracy. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has called for his release, as have the Washington Post and the New York Times. Journalism is under threat. We need freedom for journalists and for Julian Assange."