On Saturday, May 25, Sosyalist Eşitlik (the Socialist Equality Group), the sympathizing group of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in Turkey, will hold a public meeting to demand the immediate release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The meeting is part of the ICFI’s ongoing international campaign to defend Assange and Manning.
On April 11, British police arrested Assange on bogus bail charges after the Ecuadorian government, under pressure from Washington, illegally ended his asylum in its embassy in London. The British courts have now sentenced him to 50 weeks of rigorous imprisonment in the notorious Belmarsh Prison, where he is being held in solitary confinement. He faces extradition to the US and charges of espionage that carry life imprisonment or the death sentence.
Manning, who courageously provided WikiLeaks with evidence of US war crimes in 2010, was jailed by a federal judge in the United States for contempt of court for the second time since March, after she again refused to testify before a grand jury impaneled to bring frame-up charges against Assange.
Assange and Manning have committed no crime. They are being targeted for exposing the illegal wars, mass surveillance operations and daily diplomatic conspiracies of the US and all of its allies. They are class-war prisoners who must be defended by the international working class.
The witch hunt against Assange and Manning is a part of the escalating attacks on basic democratic rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press, around the world, amid the growing war preparations by the US against Iran. A war against Iran would inevitably draw in the entire region, as well as the countries dubbed by Washington’s military and intelligence apparatus as US imperialism’s “great power” competitors, including nuclear-armed Russia and China.
Hand in hand with an intensifying campaign to censor the internet, the effort to silence Assange and Manning is aimed at crushing dissent and preventing the development of a mass antiwar movement.
In Turkey, a country neighboring Iran, building a mass movement against war and for democratic rights is of great importance. It must be an integral part of an international working-class movement on the basis of a socialist program.
The freedom of the press in Turkey has been under attack by the Erdogan government as part of its war policies in the Middle East, especially in Syria and the creation of a totalitarian regime against the working class. More than one hundred journalists are in prison and large numbers of websites are censored, including WikiLeaks.
We urge workers, students, intellectuals and all genuine defenders of democratic rights, to support our campaign and participate in our public meeting.
Public meeting details
Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!
Saturday, May 25, 3:00–6:00 pm
Location: Mehring Yayincilik
Beydagi Sokak, Guclu Ishani, No: 3, D: 4 Rasimpasa, Kadikoy, Istanbul