Tuesday, 11 September 2018 08:09

Petition to give Assange refuge to be presented to NZ Parliament Featured

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Petition to give Assange refuge to be presented to NZ Parliament Courtesy Sky News

More than 2000 New Zealanders have signed a petition urging their government to offer WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange permanent political asylum in the country and also safe passage to the country from his present place of residence – the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The petition was launched by activist Greg Rzesniowiecki on 5 July. It said the reason behind it was because, "Julian Assange (Wikileaks editor) is under effective house arrest in UK".

"On 5 February 2016, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention since 7 Dec 2010."

According to a report on Newstalk, Labor MP Greg O'Connor said he would present the petition to Parliament, even though he personally did not support Assange coming to the country.

Last week, iTWire  reported, quoting WikiLeaks lawyer Greg Barns, that Assange's was in bad shape health-wise and unless he was released from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, his condition could deteriorate to the point where his life was threatened.

At a demonstration in support of Assange in Wellington on Sunday, one protester, Alex Hills, told Newstalk that the world appeared to have forgotten about Assange and this was appalling.

Former US soldier and whistleblower Chelsea Manning spoke at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington on Sunday where the demonstrators had gathered.

Reports in July said that Ecuador President Lenin Moreno had either finalised, or was about to finalise, an agreement with the UK to end asylum protection for Assange. But nothing has eventuated since then.

Ecuador has blocked Assange from using the Internet since the end of March, after he criticised alleged human rights abuses by Spain at the time when Catalonia launched protests for independence.

Assange, who holds both Australian and Ecuadorian citizenship, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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