To the Department of Justice
A breath of relief was felt around the world on Monday after news broke that the US government’s request to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the UK was denied. Unfortunately, the ruling was made on the basis of concern about the US prison system and its effect on Julian's mental health, rather than because of the more obvious issues of freedom of the press and protection of whistleblowers. If Wikileaks cannot be protected from prosecution for releasing a video that everyone agrees shows a war crime (the gunning-down of Afghan civilians and a Reuters journalist from a US military helicopter) and that was republished in countless newspapers around the world, what kind of reporting will be protected??
Today, the same judge has refused to release Julian Assange on bail while the US appeals the ruling. For all of the judge's concerns about American supermax prisons, she does not see a problem with Julian Assange's conditions at Belmarsh prison, where he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day and, according to Nils Meltzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, developed "intense psychological trauma" after being subjected to years of "progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".  Releasing Julian Assange is essential to restoring his health after almost a decade of oppressive arbitrary detention.
It is long beyond time to stop this travesty. We urge the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Wikileaks and release Julian Assange NOW!