Human rights of nonviolent whistleblower infringed
Summary: Request to ensure that the human rights of whistleblower Julian Assange are not violated in her Majesty's Belmarsh Prison in Britain. Sent by post 14 July 2019
Dear Queen Elizabeth
In the Summer of 2012 I wrote to you asking for your intervention on
humanitarian grounds in the case of Ms Marion Price in Northern
Ireland. In my correspondence I made it clear that as a pacifist I had
publicly opposed the violence of the IRA (and of all armies) but that Ms
Price was gravely ill in prison and was in danger of imminent death
without some intervention.
You graciously replied to my plea informing me that you had passed it on
to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State for consideration - and in
the event Ms Price was released. Again I thank you sincerely for your
intervention on humanitarian grounds.
Now I have another request.
It is for Mr Julian Assange, a non-violent whistleblower who revealed
among other matters that some serious atrocities were committed by the
US forces during the war in Iraq. On 1 May this year he was sentenced to
fifty weeks in prison for skipping bail on an entirely different charge
in Sweden - a charge that was later withdrawn. The judge stipulated
that he was to serve only half of that sentence. His term expired on 22
September past but he has not been freed. He fears extradition to the
USA where he faces a maximum sentence of 170 years for charges under the
Throughout his incarceration Mr Assange has been kept in solitary
confinement for 23 hours of every day. I am informed that he has had
but one half hour of fresh air per day and one half hour to "compete"
with other inmates for the use of a telephone. I believe that if this
is true, it constitutes unusual and inhuman punishment for a non-violent
truth teller, especially given the fact that he had already spent almost
seven years without fresh air in the Ecuadorian embassy and that his
health is delicate.
Since 22 September it would have been expected as normal for a prisoner
in his situation to have the ordinary rights of prisoners restored to
him but I understand that this has not happened.
In light of this my request should normally have been twofold:
(1) that you would exercise the royal prerogative of mercy to release
this non-violent prisoner forthwith and
(2) that you would appeal to his captors to treat him humanely and
with respect while he is in their care and allow him all of the
privileges accorded to other prisoners of whatever category.
However, I understand that the royal prerogative is in the gift of the
Home Secretary and given that he (the Home Secretary) has already signed
the indictment to start the process of Julian's prosecution in the
United States, there appears to be little hope that he would request a
royal prerogative for mercy.
I am appealing to you therefore, as a person endowed with humanity and a
sense of justice, to intervene solely on a matter of
administration; and, insofar as it is in your power, to ensure that the
harsh conditions that continue to be imposed on Mr Assange in Belmarsh
prison are relaxed significantly so that from now on he will be treated
humanely and with respect, on an equal footing with every other
prisoner, during his sojourn there.
With best personal wishes
Human rights activist and pacifist