Peter Tatchell - Human rights campaigner
As director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, I went to the High Court in London this morning, to join many other people giving Assange support at his extradition appeal hearing.
Other protesters rallied to defend Wikileaks and its founder Assange over their revelations of US war crimes and cover ups, including the massacre of Reuters journalists and other civilians in Iraq in 2007. See this video.
Given the demonisation of Assange, there are serious doubts that he can receive a fair trial in either Sweden or the US. If he is extradited to Sweden he will be fast-tracked to the US, where is likely to face charges that could result in life imprisonment or even a death sentence.
The sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange deserve to be taken very seriously. But Julian is innocent until proven guilty. So far, he has not been charged with any offence.
To determine whether Julian should be charged and stand trial on sex allegations, he needs to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors. There is no need for him to be extradited to Sweden to be interviewed. The interview could easily take place in London and could have been conducted here many months ago.
I am astonished that the Swedish prosecutors have refused to come to London to interview Julian. For nearly a year, he has offered to be interviewed in the UK. Why has his offer never been taken up by the prosecutors in Sweden?
"It is only thanks to Julian and Wikileaks that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians - and about the killing of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.
Wikileaks and Julian Assange have performed a great public service by exposing US war crimes. We, the people, have a right to know what the British and American governments are doing in our name. Until the Wikileaks revelations, most of these crimes and cover-ups were unknown. Wikileaks shone a light on many grave injustices.
Instead of persecuting the whistleblowers, prosecutors should be putting on trial the US military personnel who committed these terrible crimes.