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Assange is just as much a political prisoner as Navalny

By Murray Hunter - posted Thursday, 22 February 2024

Last week, the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny tragically died at the Polar Wolf penal colony northeast of Moscow, deep in the Artic circle. Navalny was serving a 19 year sentence on charges of extremism.

'Western' leaders have been quick to jump in and hold Putin accountable. US president said "I am not surprised, and outraged, by the news….make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny's death." UK's Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said "Putin's Russia imprisoned him, trumped up charges against him, poisoned him, sent him to the Artic penal colony, and now he's tragically died…We should hold Putin accountable for this. And no one should be in any doubt about the dreadful nature of Putin's regime in Russia, after what has happened".

However, there has been silence on Julian Assange's 5 year incarceration in the high security HM Belmarsh Prison in London, now making a last ditch to avoid extradition to the United States on what could be called trumped up charges of espionage.


Julian Assange is a journalist who uncovered war crimes committed by the United States military forces in Iraq back in 2010. Assange's imprisonment is an indictment against freedom of the press, where the press and leaders of the US and Britian have colluded in attacking legitimate journalism.

Until recently, even Assange's home country Australia had wanted Assange for publishing cables through Wikileaks, which identified an ASIO officer, claiming national security was put at risk.

Assange faces a two-day hearing in the London High Court that will consider whether Assange can be granted leave to appeal the extradition order made in 2022 against him, by former Home Secretary Priti Patel. If a leave to appeal is not granted, then there is nothing in the way to stop Assange being transferred to US custody and transported to the US to stand trial. Assange faces 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse for his alleged role in obtaining and publishing classified material.

US presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden along with UK prime ministers Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss, and Sunak should be held as equally accountable as Putin is for what they have done with the legal and prison system to punish journalism.


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Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

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