The publishing of WikiLeaks revealed not only various cynical manipulations of governments (democratic and autocratic) towards their citizens, it also showed the double attitude towards the human rights and international conventions regarding the war law. It put out the methods like coaxing weaker states in the diplomatic arena, military commands that kill children and two Reuter reporters unintentionally, jailing facilities where POW are systematically tortured and humiliated, etc. And the world should believe that it is “alles ok in Guantanamo Bay”, as German songwriter Rinhard Mey sings, “all is ok in Guantanamo Bay.” The documents published by WikiLeaks show what EU Schengen borders display every single day that for governing politics human rights are just a phrase superficially used in their lengthy speeches.
Julian Assange believed that public must know all this and that freedom of speech would protect him. He has let this genie of secrecy out of the bottle and paid a very high price for it. False charges for a sexual assault, financial blockade of his operations, personal confinement in unhuman conditions, threatening extradition to the US where all he has published about the foreign prisoners most probably awaits him. PEN International has been supporting his right to publish from the very beginning, particularly English and American PEN. Everywhere in the world, PEN members are trying to advocate for his basic rights. By condemning the persecution of Assange, we condemn the prosecution of every journalist and publicist in the world who find themselves under pressure from governments that want to conceal the truth. Recently, German PEN has nominated Julian Assange his honorary member, and the Slovene PEN followed.
The WikiLeaks platform presents a mirror of the world politics. Blaming the mirror for the distorted image that they don’t like is pointless. Locking up the man who holds the mirror is against every democratic principle.
Tanja Tuma, president of Slovene PEN
Member of PIWWC Board