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Assange extradition decision to be announced in January 2021

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BrasildeFato – After four weeks of hearings at the Old Baley Criminal Court in London, the British court ruled that the decision on Julian Assange’s extradition request will only be released on January 4, 2021. The Australian activist and founder of WikiLeaks will remain stuck.

According to a statement by Judge Vanessa Baraitser during the fourth and last hearing held on Thursday (1st), Assange could only wait in freedom if a new bail request is made and accepted in this period. However, the judge responsible for the case has previously denied bail on the grounds of risk of flight.

“Unless any other bail application is made between now and January 4, you will remain in custody for the same reasons that you were given before,” said Baraitser towards Assange, who, according to a report by The Guardian, was sitting at the back of the court.

Throughout the hearing, lawyer Gareth Peirce, responsible for
defense of the activist, declared that both were spied on during
meetings with the activist when he was at the Ecuadorian embassy in
London, which hindered the formulation of the defense.

Assange was removed from the embassy in April 2019, where he took refuge seven years earlier to avoid extradition to Sweden, due to a sexual assault charge that was later dismissed.

He is currently being held in the maximum security prison in Belmarsh and is accused by the United States of violating the espionage law by disclosing documents that exposed the violations committed by the United States military in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. In total, the activist is charged with 18 crimes for which he can be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Assange’s defense reinforced that the extradition request is politically motivated, a persecution that, according to them, has been intensified in recent years with the election of Republican Donald Trump. A witness heard on Wednesday said that intelligence sources in the United States and a private security company discussed the possibility of even poisoning the activist.

The lawyers also expressed concern about Assange’s mental health and stressed that his condition is very serious. A psychiatrist accompanying him in the UK prison tells the court that if the activist is extradited and sent to a maximum security prison in the United States, there is a high risk of suicide.

At a press conference after the hearing, Assange’s fiancee Stella Morris criticized the long process of psychological harassment and torture to which the activist has been subjected in recent years.

“He is in prison because he reported on crimes and atrocities committed by a foreign power. That power took away your freedom and lacerated our family. This power wants to put you in incommunicado detention in the deepest pit of the prison system for the rest of your life, ”he said.

“Julian is being punished for doing a public service that we all benefit from. Our children need their father. Julian needs his freedom and democracy needs a free press, ”he continued.

She added that the persecution is a precedent for all journalists who publish information that does not please the government to suffer the same violent process.

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Economy

Presidents of the Journalists Union condemn April: ‘nefarious’ practice

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São Paulo – Less than 10 months after the term of president at the head of the São Paulo Journalists Union (SJSP) ended, journalist Paulo Zocchi was summoned by Editora Abril to return to work from October 30th. The company’s decision breaks with the decades-old agreement that frees professionals to exercise union mandates. For five years, Abril must respect the employee’s absence, without prejudice to his salary, as a way to ensure his independence and autonomy as a union representative elected by his category.

This Monday (26th), ex-presidents of the union, since 1982, expressed repudiation to the attitude, which they considered “nefarious”. In a letter, they asked the president of Editora Abril, Fábio Carvalho, to review the decision on Paulo Zocchi. And they pointed out that the entity “has had support from Editora Abril itself” since the 1960s. At least four journalists from the company served as presidents of the union.

The entity points out that Paulo Zocchi’s impossibility to dedicate himself entirely to his tasks “will have a profound impact on the SJSP’s ability to continue operating on the fronts in which it operates. Even in the struggle for civil liberties ”, describes an excerpt from the letter. The document also warns about the moment in the country, when the press already “suffers tremendous attacks from the President of the Republic and his surroundings”.

At a meeting on October 15, more than 40 media professionals unanimously decided to carry out a denunciation campaign against Editora Abril. Associates also charge that the president be held in office until the agreed term.

Attack on category and entity

Since the decision was announced on September 23, some union leaders have defined it as a form of attack on the category and the entity. The Union was in charge of Abril’s default process, which led to the dismissal of about 800 employees and 200 freelancers in 2018. The company went through a judicial reorganization process and its workers had to sue the Justice to obtain their labor rights and due compensation. .

The presidents finalize the letter, listing that there are many negative impacts at the same time. “That Editora Abril, a journalistic company, is not among those who disparage civil liberties and the very freedom of the press in our country.”

Check the letter in full

To the Lord

Fábio Carvalho, president of Editora Abril

Ref .: Request for reconsideration of decision

São Paulo, October 26, 2020

On September 23 of the current year, Editora Abril notified the president of the Union of Professional Journalists in the State of São Paulo, Paulo Zocchi, to return to work, later defining the return for October 30, as he does not intend to continue paying his salary while he chairs the entity.

As ex-presidents of the Union, we have come to you to request that you reconsider the decision made.

We remind you, on behalf of all SJSP members, represented at the Extraordinary General Meeting on October 15th, that Editora Abril’s decision breaks with a tradition of the major newspaper companies in the state of São Paulo to release union presidents without prejudice to their salaries . This tradition dates back to the 1960s and has always had the support of Editora Abril itself, which has already had four of its journalists as presidents of the Union.

Why now, just when Paulo Zocchi is less than ten months away from completing his second and final mandate at the head of the organization, just when journalists and the press suffer tremendous attacks from the President of the Republic and its surroundings, just at this moment, Editora Does April make such a nefarious decision?

We ask you to reflect on the meaning of this decision in the current context. It goes well beyond a simple initiative by the HR sector of a large company. It concerns civil liberties themselves, including freedom of the press.

Freedom of expression and press

The Union of Professional Journalists in the State of São Paulo is one of the most important organizations of Brazilian journalists. His performance in the struggles for freedom of expression and the press, as well as in the country’s democratization process, are notorious. Know, gentlemen, that the impossibility for the entity’s president to dedicate himself fully to his affairs will have a profound impact on the SJSP’s ability to continue acting on the fronts in which it operates, including the struggles for civil liberties.

However, despite its importance in matters of journalists and society, the SJSP is a small entity, under attack also by legislation that prevents union tax from being collected. Leads journalists at a time of profound changes in journalism. Note, gentlemen, that there are many negative impacts at the same time. That Editora Abril, a journalistic company, does not figure – it too – among those who disparage civil liberties and the freedom of the press itself in our country.

Requesting that you acknowledge receipt of this, we express our certainty that we can count on you to review this unfortunate decision.

Lu Fernandes, president from 1982 to 1984
Gabriel Romeiro, president from 1984 to 1987
Robson Moreira, president from 1987 to 1990
Everaldo Gouveia, president from 1993 to 2000
Fred Ghedini, president from 2000 to 2006
José Augusto de Camargo, president from 2006 to 2014

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