Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in Northern Ireland, has visited Julian Assange and written a condemnation of his asylum — which is effectively a house arrest — for the “crime of being a journalist who told the truth.”

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 19, 2012. Police are stationed outside at all times in case he tries to leave. Assange’s lawyer, Michael Ratner, told Truthdig that the building is not palatial like some embassies, but Assange is able to be surprisingly productive in confinement.

The legal trouble immediately facing the WikiLeaks publisher has to do with allegations originating in Sweden, but as Maguire argues, the real threat is extradition to the United States, where Assange could face espionage charges.

Mairead Maguire on

How sad I felt to see Julian Assange an asylum seeker inside the embassy, (surrounded by British Police at a cost of millions to the British taxpayer) his crime of being a journalist who told the truth, and Wikileaks a media outlet which carried stories of governments’ war crimes, and upheld the publics’ right to know what their governments are doing in their names. I feel Julian should not be there and his human rights are being abused as his freedom is taken away from him. I realize how difficult it is for him and so many journalists when they speak truth to power, they have to seek exile in countries, such as Edward Snowden in Russia, and some journalists in Germany, as they are no longer able to act as journalists in countries such as UK or USA, due to repressive legislation now targeting journalists and their sources, civilians, etc., This situation is intolerable and we, the citizens of the world, have a right to all our freedoms, and the press have a right to freedom of information, etc. Without free press we are indeed in a very dark and dangerous world. We free citizens need to protect Julian Assange and all whistleblowers. The UK and Swedish Governments, on humanitarian grounds, can move to unblock the present impasse so Julian can answer the questions to be put to him re the Swedish case, and both governments can, regarding the US administration, protect Julian’s human rights by blocking any retaliation by US Administration against him,and guarantee his human rights.

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— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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