Actress Pamela Anderson and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson met Julian Assange at Britain’s Belmarsh Prison yesterday. His first personal visitors since being imprisoned nearly one month ago, they issued a strong appeal for public support.
Emerging from the maximum-security prison, visibly shocked and angered, Anderson and Hrafnsson addressed the media. Their statements were a searing indictment of state criminality and lawlessness on the part of the British and US governments.
Hrafnsson said, “It is for me, shocking to see my friend—an intellectual, a publisher, a journalist, a man that has transformed the world of journalism with his work—sitting in a high security prison, spending 23 hours a day in a cell, having half an hour outdoors if weather allows and half an hour to do everything else. This is not justice. This is an abomination.”
He continued, “Someone said that you could judge the civilisation of a society by visiting its prisons and frankly, I have to say from my heart, that this visit did not reflect well on the society here.”
Anderson condemned the state persecution of her friend as a “misrule of law in operation.”
Constantly derided by corporate and state media outlets, Anderson stood head and shoulders above her detractors. “Obviously it’s been very difficult to see Julian here and to make our way through the prison. To get to him was quite shocking and difficult. He does not deserve to be in a supermax prison. He has never committed a violent act, he’s an innocent person.”
She described Assange’s near total isolation, “He’s really cut off from everybody, he hasn’t been able to speak to his children and public support is very important.”
Anderson urged supporters to write to Assange in prison to show their support and give him strength.
While at times visibly upset, Anderson spoke with dignity and determination, “He needs all the support he can get. Justice will depend on public support ... we have to keep fighting because it’s unfair, he’s sacrificed so much to bring the truth out and we deserve the truth.”
Asked by reporters what condition Assange was in, Hrafnsson explained he had already suffered years of arbitrary detention. Over the previous year, Assange had been held in total isolation in Ecuador’s embassy, “being harassed everyday” to make his life “a misery.” He had lost weight, but his spirit was “still strong.”
Asked about conditions for Assange inside the prison, Hrafnsson replied, “What is it like for anybody to be in Belmarsh Prison? Especially when you are there because another country demands your extradition for journalistic activity. It’s outrageous.”
Hrafnsson explained that as a result of Assange's solitary confinement in a supermax jail, "He has not been able to properly prepare his case, which is of course the most important fight, against his extradition to the United States."
Despite the wall of disinformation, lies and slander directed against Assange, support for the WikiLeaks publisher is growing.
A poll conducted this week by America’s MSNBC asking, “Should Julian Assange be prosecuted for his involvement with WikiLeaks?” found 95 percent of respondents answering “No, he is a whistleblower and deserves protection.”
In Australia, a 60 Minutes poll published on April 28, found 85 percent opposed his extradition to the United States, favouring calls to bring him home. A petition calling on the Australian government to defend Assange has attained more than 136,000 signatures.
Anderson said that she and Hrafnsson conveyed an important message to Assange: “We told him about our feeling that there is growing support among the general public and the population, and he was heartened to hear that and that gives him added strength.”
Asked how concerned Assange was about the possibility of extradition and a long prison sentence in the US, Anderson replied bluntly: “We need to save his life. That’s how serious it is.”
The public statements of Anderson and Hrafnsson underscore the importance of building the broadest support throughout the working class, among students, young people and the most principled intellectuals and artists to demand freedom for Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, currently being held in a jail in the US for refusing to testify before a grand jury against the WikiLeaks founder.
Send letters of support to Julian Assange
Mr Julian Assange
London SE28 0EB
(You must write your return address on the back of the envelope or it will not be delivered. You must include his date of birth in the address as above.)
The Socialist Equality Party urges the largest possible attendance at this Sunday’s public meeting in London.
Public meeting details
Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!
Sunday, May 12
(Doors open 1:30 p.m. Start time 2 p.m.)
YMCA Indian Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
London, W1T 6AQ
Chris Marsden—Socialist Equality Party (UK) National Secretary
Ulrich Rippert—chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (Germany)
Oscar Grenfell—Socialist Equality Party (Australia)
Emmy Butlin—Julian Assange Defence Committee