President Moreno of Ecuador: Please Uphold Julian Assange's Human Rights

Ecuador's grant of asylum to Assange set a glowing message of hope in a dark world.

Like many others, I have been increasingly concerned by what has been happening to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. When I first wrote about his situation earlier this week, I knew that the Ecuadorian government had cut off the phone and internet connectivity which it had been providing to Mr. Assange but at that point I hadn’t been told that the Ecuadorian government also installed jamming devices which prevent Mr. Assange from using other communications infrastructure or networks. So, I’ve written to Ecuador’s new president, Mr. Moreno, below.

I’m also very thankful and encouraged by the thousands of people who have been signing the White House petition to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as the petition to impeach Federal Judge Kimba Wood.

So, I’ve started another, asking President Moreno of Ecuador to uphold Mr. Assange’s civil, political and human rights, and specifically his right to communicate with the world. Please sign it here.

As many know, Mr. Assange has been courageously fighting for freedom for the downtrodden for over a decade. But many have been forsaking him due to his stance against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, even though it’s actually Mr. Assange who appears to have been the victim of some very underhanded (and probably illegal) shenanigans on the part of the Clinton State Department, the Holder DOJ and more broadly, the Obama administration. I can’t help but feel that’s victim blaming and a damned shame.

Anyways, here’s my letter to President Moreno:

Dear President Moreno,

I hope that this message finds you well and I thank you for taking the time to read it. I know that you must be very busy, so I will try to be brief.

 My name is Marty Gottesfeld and I am a human rights activist and political prisoner in the United States.

In 2012, Ecuador set a glowing example in a dark world when it granted political asylum to WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange and began sheltering him in its London embassy. Because they happened to me and to others right before my eyes everyday, I know firsthand some of the Human Rights violations which Ecuador has almost certainly prevented from being perpetrated against Mr. Assange by the notoriously corrupt U.S. Department of Justice:

And sadly, in the years since Mr. Assange first took refuge in your embassy in London, it seems doubtful that things have gotten any safer for him. Rather, it is likely more dangerous for him now than ever due to his continued work exposing corruption and injustice – especially in the United States. Further, since our Justice Department wields nearly unchecked power to imprison people for years without trial while blocking both legislative and executive scrutiny of “pending” cases, there appears to be little that even our President can do about this, though it’s not for a lack of effort.

Yet, despite those escalating dangers and Mr. Assange's asylum status as well as his newfound Ecuadorian citizenship, your government seems to be trying to drive him out of your embassy by barring him from communicating with the outside world. He is not being allowed phone calls or internet access. Further, I was surprised to hear that your government went beyond simply refusing to provide Mr. Assange with communications connectivity by turning away his in-person visitors and even installing jamming devices to prevent him from using his own cellular devices.

These actions are counter to both Mr. Assange's rights as an Ecuadorian citizen as well as, more broadly, to the international Convention on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR).

Mr. Assange is now even more isolated than I am as an actual prisoner and now, unable to confer with anyone, he is confronted with a choice between remaining effectively in prison in your embassy or facing the very same persecution and possible death outside which drove him to seek asylum in the first place. Should anything happen to him if he chooses to walk outside, those consequences will almost certainly be attributed to the actions of your government, which seem specifically and obviously intended to drive him out.

I also understand that your government may disagree with the sentiments that Mr. Assange has been expressing. But they are his own, and he has the right to publish them.

If your government does not wish to provide him with the telecommunications means to do so then that is its choice. I’m confident that if the jamming devices were removed and he were allowed to receive visitors again, then alternative connectivity can be arranged which would allow Mr. Assange to express himself without his messages being attributable to your government. I’m also confident that it hasn’t been convenient nor easy to host Mr. Assange, but doing the right thing rarely is.

I’d like to end by commending Ecuador for having done far more to protect Mr. Assange’s civil, political and human rights than anyone else. I hope they’ll continue to do so.