At an event in Sofia today, 8 October, the International Day against the extradition to the USA of WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange and for his immediate release, the head of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists Snezhana Todorova announced the position of the UBJ Board, which was adopted and published on 6 October.
The event took place in the garden at the back of the National Art Gallery, next to the UK Embassy in Bulgaria on Moskovska street. As is known, Julian Assange has been in the high-security British prison Belmarsh in London since the beginning of 2019, and the British authorities have already ruled that they will grant the US request for his extradition there. If that happens, Assange could be sentenced by a US court to 175 years in prison for his revelations and disclosures of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"If Assange is on trial for disclosing information about war crimes that is of high public interest, then all journalists around the world are being ostentatiously threatened not to let anything like this happen. Fear is being instilled and honest, independent and critical journalism is being gagged. The aim is openly pursued to keep the public in the dark about what the 'powerful of the day' do not want to be revealed. This is outright murder of freedom of speech, freedom of information, free access to information and, in essence, of democracy itself." The words are from the declaration of the Board of the UBJ, read today by Snezhana Todorova to those gathered at the event in defense of Assange.
Journalists, poets, academics, trade unionists and representatives of public organisations came. Among those present were prof. Iskra Baeva, prof. Lyudmila Ilieva, Vanya Grigorova, Kalin Parvanov, Velizar Enchev, Kudrinka Kudrinova, Dora Chichkova, Ana Pirinska, the chairman of the ABC-Sofia Boris Tsvetkov, Nikolay Belalov and others.
UBJ convened the event in response to the appeal of the International Federation of Journalists, of which it is a collective member, for active participation in today's international day in support of Assange. The largest action is being organised today by journalists' and human rights organisations in the UK, who are belting Parliament in London with a human chain to press for Assange's release and a refusal to extradite him to the US. Impressive events with the same demands are taking place in Paris, Athens, Melbourne, Wellington and many other places around the world.
After the reading of the appeal by the UBJ Board at today's Sofia event, Snezhana Todorova submitted the text to the UK Embassy.
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