Professor Stuart Rees to speak at SEP rally to defend Julian Assange

Professor Stuart Rees, a highly respected retired academic, author and defender of human rights and civil liberties, will be speaking at the Socialist Equality Party’s June 29 rally in Sydney to defend Julian Assange. Rees founded the Sydney Peace Foundation, which, in 2011, bestowed its highest honour, the Gold Medal for Peace and Justice, to then WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

In November 2018, Professor Rees was awarded the inaugural Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize for his “persistent and courageous advocacy for the human rights of all Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, the refugee camps and the Palestinian diaspora generally.”

Professor Rees has publicly endorsed the SEP’s rallies, since the first was held on June 17, 2018 at Sydney Town Hall Square, in defence of Assange. He has issued the following statement, urging support for the SEP’s demonstrations on June 29 in Sydney, July 6 in Brisbane and July 14 in Melbourne.

The “Freedom for Julian Assange” rally in Sydney’s Martin Place on Saturday June 29th seeks justice for a highly significant Australian citizen, an invaluable publisher and journalist.

“Justice” means acknowledging his unique contributions to a civil society, achieving his freedom and bringing him home.

The rally must increase public awareness of the outrageous injustice if Julian is extradited to the US to face a possible 170 years in prison. By revealing truths about US murderous wars, he has done no wrong. It has taken years for a secret US grand jury to concoct charges against him.

A new public awareness must include politicians, journalists and members of different occupations, who have so far ducked for cover and stayed silent. I appeal to such Australians to find the courage to endorse universal human rights, support Julian personally and resist this US “Culture of Revenge,” which seeks to punish anyone who dares to defy them.

An immediate goal is to challenge the political persecution of Julian and not be intimidated by bogus claims about “security.” Free speech, freedom of the press and courage to resist police-state initiatives are also at stake. Hence the huge significance of this rally, and of the need for a continued public awareness, people power campaign.

Stuart Rees,

June 19, 2019