by Yoav Elinevsky
On Friday, May 6, 2022, more than a dozen peace activists from Western Massachusetts held a protest outside Congressman Jim McGovern ‘s office in Northampton, demanding freedom for Julian Assange and Alex Saab.
Julian Assange was arrested in 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been staying since 2012. On April 20, 2022, a UK magistrates judge ordered the extradition of Assange to the United States, where he is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States has indicted Assange under the Espionage Act and asked that he be extradited from London.
Extraditing Assange, a journalist and Australian citizen, to the United States would have disastrous consequences for the freedom of the press and our democracy.
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, said: We owe it to Julian to fight for his freedom, because he fought for peace for the rest of us. He fought for justice by exposing how the United States conducted horrific wars of conquest in Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions died in these wars, mostly civilians. Assange believed that knowledge of U.S. war crimes belonged to us, the people, to decide for ourselves what should happen in our name. And now it’s time for us to fight for him.
On June 12, 2020, the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab was seized by order of U.S. officials during a refueling stop on a flight from Venezuela to Iran. He was imprisoned on Cabo Verde, a small island nation off the western coast of Africa, for trying to buy humanitarian supplies in legal international trade but in violation of illegal U.S. sanctions.
As of October 16th, 2021, Saab was kidnapped from Cabo Verde by U.S. officials acting without an extradition order and is now being illegally held in Miami, FL. The case raises dangerous precedents in terms of extraterritorial judicial abuse by the United States in enforcing its unilateral coercive measures–sanctions–on Venezuela and 38 other countries, comprising a third of humanity.
Former Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera is campaigning to free Alex Saab. He said: I’m a former Puerto Rican political prisoner who spent 36 years in prison in the United States for fighting against the colonial status of my country. Having suffered all kinds of abuse while incarcerated, I can understand the critical situation that Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab is experiencing at this time. I invite all people of the “Patria Grande,” wherever they are, to say in unison with us, “Free Alex Saab Now! “
The standout is co-sponsored by: Massachusetts Peace Action * WMASS Green Party * WMASS CodePink
— Yoav Elinevsky chairs MAPA’s Latin America/Caribbean Working Group.