Dáil debates

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

European Council Meeting: Statements


5:50 pm

Photo of Mairead FarrellMairead Farrell (Galway West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I wish the raise the case of Julian Assange again. Last Friday, it took just nine minutes for the British magistrates to uphold an American appeal against a district court judge's ruling that Julian Assange should not be extradited. That judge had accepted in January that hell on earth was what awaited Julian Assange and that extradition would mean he would likely take his own life. On hearing the news that this ruling had been overturned, Julian Assange had a stroke, such is the stress and mental anguish his extradition has caused him. To call that decision justice would be a crime against the English language for the extradition is not just a miscarriage of justice but also an onslaught against justice and on journalism and free speech. In an age when the media are now driven by clickbait, ad traffic sensationalism, conventional wisdom commentary, access and embedded journalism, Mr. Assange's work, which revealed war crimes, atrocities and the destruction of civil liberties by the US military and its allies, shone like a light in the darkness. I have raised this case several times in exactly this slot, statements on European Council meetings. When we see what happened last Friday and the anguish Julian Assange is in and see the work he did, it is time for the Government to step up and to speak up for journalism and for Julian Assange.


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