An embarrassing letter from Australia’s Human Rights Commission (published below) falsely claims that Julian Assange “has been charged”. It says Mr Assange “has an opportunity to defend himself before the Swedish Court”, when in fact he has been denied this opportunity precisely because, after more than five years, he still has NOT been charged. The letter further states that the Assange case is outside the Australian Human Rights Commission’s jurisdiction, even though their own motto (as shown in the letter) is “Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday.”
Dated 9 Dec. 2015, the letter is signed by Kelly O’Grady, the Executive Assistant to the President of the Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs. It was sent in response to a request for assistance from an Assange supporter named Chris.
To make matters even more embarrassing for Gillian Triggs, less than a month later, the United Nations ruled that Julian Assange has been unlawfully detained and should be immediately released and paid compensation by both Sweden and the UK.
And then perhaps the ultimate embarrassment for a left-wing spokesperson: being rightly exposed by right-wing media commentator Miranda Devine. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention announced its decision on Friday 5 February 2016. Two days later, Miranda Devine published the following article in Rupert Murdoch’s Sydney newspapers (this was not published online):
Professor Triggs needs to realise that Julian Assange is also an asylum seeker. He has been granted political asylum by the government of Ecuador, and the United Nations has ruled that he has been unlawfully “arbitrarily detained” since 2010. He has NOT been charged by the disgracefully and willfully incompetent Swedish prosecutor, who still has not even gone to London to question him. And how is anyone supposed to defend themselves in a court of law when they have not even been charged with anything?
Julian Assange did NOT choose to seek political asylum in order to avoid a court case in Sweden, as the letter above insinuates. The Ecuadorean government granted him asylum because of “multiple high-level threats against his life and liberty” from the USA.
It’s time for Gillian Triggs to apologise for the letter above, set the record straight, and speak up for the human rights of award-winning Australian journalist Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is Australia’s one and only political refugee. He has been deprived of his basic human rights – including the right to fresh air, sunlight, and medical attention for 6 months of pain – precisely because he dared expose the US government’s human rights abuses.
How is it possible that Gillian Triggs is not even aware of these basic facts? Who’s rights is she really protecting? Australian citizens, or the US government?
When fellow journalist Peter Greste was awarded the Australian Medal For Human Rights in 2015, Gillian Triggs praised him at the ceremony, which took place one day after the letter above was sent. If that’s not “outside her jurisdiction”, then why is Assange?