Appeal to Archbishop of Canterbury to Support Release of Julian Assange

A letter signed by 61 intellectuals from 16 countries was delivered to Lambeth Palace calling on Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, to use his moral influence to end the unjustified imprisonment of Julian Assange.

Signatories included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, film-maker Oliver Stone, human rights defender Francis Boyle, former chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Dick Marty, popular German Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht and William R. Polk, descendent of the 11th President of the United States and former President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

Text of Letter

To the Most Reverend Justin Welby,

Archbishop of Canterbury

We the undersigned respectfully call on the moral authorities of the United Kingdom to use their influence to obtain immediately release of Julian Assange, citizen of Australia, from Belmarsh prison where he is being unjustly and cruelly incarcerated.

Julian Assange is not charged with any crime or even misdemeanor in Britain, and has fully served his sentence for his single offense: jumping bail to avoid extradition to the United States via Sweden. He was not and is not charged for any crime in Sweden. The sole charges against him originate in the United States, on purely political grounds, aimed at punishing Julian Assange for publication of accurate information provided by informed sources. This is a regular practice of all mainstream media, which now shamefully fail to speak out in defense of Mr. Assange, even when they published exactly the same information that he did.

It is quite clear that in their current treatment of Julian Assange, the United Kingdom is debasing itself as a mere instrument of political repression exercised by the United States.

Your Grace,

The current imprisonment of Julian Assange is a blot on the nation’s judicial system, a disgrace to British decency. This scandal may be largely hidden today but will surely emerge in history unless measures are taken immediately by the highest representatives of the British people to correct this major injustice.

We ask you to respectfully transmit this message to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

We appeal to your sense of justice and of national honor to uphold the best traditions of British democracy and respect for human rights by calling for the immediately freeing Julian Assange.

With great concern,

Tariq Ali, author, editor, filmmaker, UK.

Mary Beaudoin, Women Against Military Madness, Minnesota, USA.

Francis Boyle, law professor, Board of Directors, Amnesty International USA (1988-92)

Paolo Borgognone, scholar, author, Italy.

Jean Bricmont, mathematical physicist, author, Belgium.

Peter Brock, mainstream reporter, media critic, journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist, USA.

Scott Burchill, senior lecturer in International Relations, Deakin University, Australia.

Al Burke, editor, Nordic News Network, Sweden.

Franco Cavalli, former President of the International Union Against Cancer, Geneva.

Noam Chomsky, linguist, author, activist, USA.

Michel Chossudovsky, academic, Quebec, Canada.

Neil Clark, journalist, broadcaster and author, UK.

Andrew Cockburn, author, Harper’s Magazine editor, Washington DC, USA.

Michel Collon, publisher, director of Investig’Action, Bruxelles.

Francis Combes, poet, publisher, Paris, France.

Sevim Dagdelen, journalist, Member of the German Bundestag.

Manlio Dinucci, journalist, author, Rome, Italy.

Bruno Drweski, historian, France.

Björn Eklund, publisher, Sweden.

Daniel Ellsberg, former military analyst, public discloser of Pentagon Papers, author, USA.

Norman G. Finkelstein, political scientist, author, USA.

Julie Franck, Laboratoire de Psycholinguistique, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Julio Cesar Gambina, economist, President of the Fundación de Investigaciones Sociales y Políticas, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Manolis Glezos, leading WWII resister, Member of European Parliament, age 97, Greece.

Alain Gresh, journalist, author, former editor of Le Monde diplomatique, Paris, France.

Katharine Harwood Gün, celebrated British truth revealer (whistleblower).

Chris Hedges, journalist, author, USA.

Diana Johnstone, journalist, author, Paris, France.

John C. Kiriakou, former CIA Officer, whistleblower, USA.

Dimitrios Konstantakopoulos, journalist, East-West arms control expert, Greece.

Tamara Kunanayakam, former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Cuba, to the United Nations Office in Geneva and to the Holy See.

Annie Lacroix-Riz, historian, France.

John Laughland, historian, author, UK.

Joe Lauria, veteran foreign affairs correspondent, Editor-in-Chief of Consortium News, USA.

Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence agent, truth revealer (whistleblower).

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Northern Ireland. 

Cynthia McKinney, Former Congresswoman, activist, author, USA.

Dick Marty, jurist, former Senator and former Chair of the Committee on Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Switzerland.

Albrecht Müller, economist, author, director of NachDenkSeiten website, Germany.

Moritz Müller, journalist, Germany.

Jan Oberg, peace researcher, founder and director of The Transnational Foundation (TFF), Sweden.

Jean-Pierre Page, former head of the international department of the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT), France.

Dragan Pavlovic, professor of anesthesiology and intensive care medicine, Serbia.

John Pilger, journalist, author, filmmaker, Australia.

William R. Polk, Professor of History emeritus University of Chicago, former President Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

Jesselyn Radack, human rights attorney, USA.

Raúl Roa Kourí, playwright, former Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations and to the Vatican.

Paul Craig Roberts, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent/division legal counsel; 9-11 whistleblower.

Rick Rozoff, editor, Stop NATO, USA.

Robert Scheer, journalist, commentator, California.

Eugene Schulman, stockbroker, bibliophile, Geneva, Swizerland.

Norman Solomon, director, Roots Action, USA.

George Szamuely, journalist, New York.

Matthew Stevenson, travel writer, Switzerland.

Oliver Stone, filmmaker, USA.

Mikis Theodorakis, composer, Greece.

Jeannie Toschi Marazzani Visconti, journalist, author, Milan, Italy.

Antonio Tujan, IBON Foundation founder, Manilla, Philippines; Chair international Reality of Aid Network.

Sahra Wagenknecht, economist, Member of German Bundestag.

John Walsh, physiologist, essayist, California.

Daniel Warner, independent scholar, Switzerland.

54 comments for “Appeal to Archbishop of Canterbury to Support Release of Julian Assange

  1. GMCasey
    December 4, 2019 at 15:50

    And what of all the American and UK and Australian papers that benefited from Assange’s work—–if publishing is a crime—-why isn’t the Grey Lady in chains—and the Guardian who benefited also? It seems apparent that the First Amendment is dead in America, with more deaths of free speech in other nations who speak of being democratic or of being democratic republics. The novel, “1984,” was written much earlier than 1984 but oh how quickly things have changed for We the People of the world. It seems sad enough that American corporations have turned into people, but now it appears that they and the governments have now ascended into being Gods persecuting truth tellers like Julian Assange. Persecuting him is persecuting truth and justice for all of us.

  2. December 3, 2019 at 23:58

    I would think the Archbishop would help. The Founder of Christianity died a political prisoner; free speech was also an issue here.

  3. December 3, 2019 at 19:27

    Excellent idea! Just wrote the letters and am on my way to the Post Office!

    • Dolores Cordell
      December 4, 2019 at 09:53

      Ps. I included a line telling the Archbishop and the Pope to “not play Pontius Pilot.”

    • ML
      December 4, 2019 at 10:28

      Yay! Good going, Dolores. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

  4. theodore kazanis
    December 3, 2019 at 14:53

    Manolis Glezos ripped the swastika from the Acropolis flagpole during the Nazi
    occupation and revealed it after the Nazis departed. Despite his heroic act, he was marginalized because he is a communist. He was “rehabilitated” years later after the Colonels under Papadopoulos were cast out.

  5. December 3, 2019 at 14:43

    In an age where truth is taking a drubbing we need real truth telling journalists like Assange.

  6. Luke Daniels
    December 3, 2019 at 13:43

    Given so much to the world and punished for it. Release the man now.

    • sig d arnesen
      December 3, 2019 at 17:09


  7. Lily
    December 3, 2019 at 13:42

    Julian’s only crime was telling the truth which is not a crime. “It is a crime NOT to report a crime.”

    These criminals want to destroy a brave, completely innocent man mainly for one reason: he reminds them of their crimes.

    “Integrity embarresses them. They have none.”

    John Shipton in interview:


  8. Alex Cox
    December 3, 2019 at 13:41

    This is a ridiculous waste of time and effort. The Archbishop has already joined the anti-Corbyn pack. There is no way he or the Pope will do anything to make a practical difference in the case of Assange or anything else that matters. Tariq Ali lives in Britain and should know better.

    • December 3, 2019 at 19:28

      So you are going to do NOTHING? Even drops of water can be powerful when there are enough of them.

  9. bob
    December 3, 2019 at 09:03

    but, but but, america and britain don’t do international law

  10. Eugenie Basile
    December 3, 2019 at 04:05

    Which parties in the upcoming UK elections call for immediate release of Julian in their manifesto ?

  11. Mark W. Stroberg
    December 2, 2019 at 23:40

    It is horrifying what has happened to Julian Assange. There is no safe place in the world outside the clutches of the US government, not even in Europe. I am not holding out much hope, but on the outside chance that someone will listen and do something about this, I think this is as likely a successful attempt as any that I have seen.

  12. Sunil
    December 2, 2019 at 22:20

    I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and admiration for all the illustrious people who signed this letter and took the initiative in this vital moment for the mankind and sure hope it will inspire many more to initiate immediate action to save the life of this giant hero of our times. Sri. Lanka

  13. Coleen Rowley
    December 2, 2019 at 21:53

    We should all write additional personal letters to The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU United Kingdom. And to the Pope at: His Holiness, Pope Francis
    Apostolic Palace, 00120 Vatican City.

    • ML
      December 3, 2019 at 10:34

      Thanks, Coleen, for these addresses! I will write them both today.

    • December 3, 2019 at 18:43

      Excellent idea! Will do!

  14. ML
    December 2, 2019 at 20:48

    Today, I wrote each of my Oregon Senators (again) and listed some of the points made by the wonderful symposium speakers from the London church posted a few days ago on CN. I was firm and fervent, asking them to come out publicly and oppose Julian’s extradition to the USA. Then I looked up the addresses of both the UK and the US Amnesty International offices, wrote them each a letter and basically read them the riot act for not coming out in full force against Julian’s persecution and for not declaring him a “prisoner of conscience,” which he is. I next will write CNN and MSNBC (which I never watch) and give them a piece of my mind. I am just a retired nurse practitioner, but one thing I have always been able to do is advocate strongly for my patients during all my many working years. The least I can do is spend some time defending Julian and opposing his abuse. I hope that all together, we the people, can make an impact that will end in triumph and Julian’s release!

  15. jmg
    December 2, 2019 at 19:11

    And more initiatives. Reported today by the Courage Foundation:

    > French journalists’ unions @snjcgt, @SNJ_national, @CFDT, @IFJGlobal members, write an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron in support of Julian Assange, calling his prosecution “one of the most serious attacks on the freedom of the press” in the EU

    (Julian Assange: Lettre ouverte SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT Journalistes à Emmanuel Macron | Syndicat National des Journalistes CGT | 27 novembre 2019)

    Some of the many petitions we all can sign:

    * Petition — Don’t hand Assange over to the U.S.! — Created Apr 11, 2019 — 347,316 have signed —

    * Petition — Free Julian Assange, before it’s too late. Sign to STOP the USA Extradition — Created Jul 11, 2018 — 221,953 have signed —

    * Don’t extradite Assange! (petition) — 96,796 signatures — DiEM25, Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

    * Petition — Liberté pour Julian Assange ! — Created Nov 19, 2019 — 11,520 have signed —

    * Petition — UK Minister of State for Prisons and Probation: URGENT CALL: Allow Julian Assange to prepare his defence – move him out of Belmarsh NOW! — Created Nov 20, 2019 — 9,217 have signed —

  16. December 2, 2019 at 15:32

    As an Australian citizen and from grandparents of British decent I am ashamed of the British government and Australian government’s attitude in supporting unfounded extradition of Julian to the USA.
    This attitude of Britian harks back to the way our brave Australian soldiers in world war 1 were treated as cannon fodder at Gallopoli and in the trenches of France.
    Another nail in the coffin of freedom and the moral decay of England.

  17. December 2, 2019 at 13:23

    Julian Assange has already paid such a high price for revealing important truths to the world. The UK should be so ashamed of its
    cowardly illegal, immoral, and ridiculous imprisonment and mistreatment of him. Sadly, too, he would never be able to get any kind
    of fair treatment in the U.S. The Archbishop of Canterbury is in a good position to help him. He certainly has some very powerful,
    sincere, brave people begging him to effectively get busy and bring Assange the freedom he deserves.

  18. rosemerry
    December 2, 2019 at 13:12

    If there is any moral fibre in any of the UK religious leaders, this should strike a chord.
    I suppose the Chief Rabbi has not been asked to join this action!!

  19. John Allen aka Ol' Hippy
    December 2, 2019 at 13:08

    We can only hope the clergy has more sway than citizens do in Julian’s fight for rights and decency. Seems the Australians govt has expatriated him. As the US govt is hoping he rots, we concerned citizens want to see this fearless publisher of hard facts released and live as a free man.

  20. Donne Marshall
    December 2, 2019 at 12:58

    The Voice of God and the Universe cry out at the gross injustice being committed by a nation that holds itself up as a shining example of freedom and democracy. Shame on England for its willingness to be subservient to the will of other less principled nations.

  21. December 2, 2019 at 12:34

    I appreciate the efforts of these people to appeal to this cleric, but is there a shred of evidence that he would act, and even if he did, that the powers that be would pay any attention?
    It’s gonna take mass action. Why are only hundreds turning out at demonstrations for Assange in London?

  22. Occupy on!
    December 2, 2019 at 11:29

    What the US is doing to Julian Assange is so wrenching to me, I’m left catatonic and simply unable to add a thing to the outcry of support for Assange. Let’s hope that such knowledgeable and endlessly compassionate people like John Pilger, Oliver Stone, Norman Finklestein and other signatories of this letter will provide enough Karma to this universe the rest of us will be able to continue limping along in our cowardice.

  23. December 2, 2019 at 11:26

    Exposing crimes against humanity is not a crime. Free Julian Assange.

  24. Veronica Roberts
    December 2, 2019 at 11:25

    “But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”

    A challenge to the Archbishop:
    ……”is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world” (and Julian Assange)?
    Quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

    Maybe people of the world who support Julian should consider boycotting organized religion. A little BDS movement of that
    kind might hit them where it hurts, and wake them up to their responsibility to stand up to this and to all injustices.

  25. Sophia Bicoy
    December 2, 2019 at 11:24

    No whistleblower should be in prison as they are a benefit to society and doing us all a favor.

  26. Rong Cao
    December 2, 2019 at 11:06

    This is the critical parliamentary election season for UK, also important period for Trump’s impeachment hearing and his reelection campaign. Both executive branches will pressure archbishop of Canterbury not to response to this letter.

  27. December 2, 2019 at 10:56

    A dreadful, shameful action against one who was merely being a good journalist.

  28. evelync
    December 2, 2019 at 10:21

    I see on line a photo of Justin Welby and Pope Francis together – working on church reform is the explanation for the get together.
    Perhaps Pope Francis can put a good word in the Archbishop’s ear too?

    Thanks for doing this.

  29. Geo Turner
    December 2, 2019 at 09:07

    Got it!, Junghi. Tragically the millions like you and I, the public *trust, the truth honored world wide, will continue to be buried here– in the USA

    • evelync
      December 2, 2019 at 11:02

      As Leonard Cohen’s song goes “Everybody Knows”….

      Our “greater” institutions which must receive funding from the MICIMATT like Harvard’s JFK School which won respect for inviting Chelsea Manning to receive an honorary degree and then lost it for revoking that invitation are in the process of losing the public trust.

      We’re born with a sense of right and wrong. Every child understands the words “it’s not fair” and that sense of injustice.
      Our institutions fail us when they serve a secretive agenda that is not transparent.

      I hope the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen understand that the public trust in their respective institutions hangs in the balance here.

  30. Davena Turvey
    December 2, 2019 at 08:52

    Please release this brave man, who has told only the truth.

  31. john williams
    December 2, 2019 at 08:51

    The jailing/restraint of Julian assange is unbelievable in a nation(s) that tout being christain and god-loving. Shame shame shame

  32. Anne Mullen
    December 2, 2019 at 08:22

    May I sign also. I am only a mother, grandmother and teacher but I feel there are so many like me that feel the same way.

  33. John Danziger
    December 2, 2019 at 07:47

    A most worthy cause. I am ashamed of my Australian government for doing nothing to help Julian

  34. Skip Scott
    December 2, 2019 at 07:07

    What a great idea!!! Not coming out in defense of Julian will show the Church of England to be nothing less than a servant of evil. Morality and Politics at loggerheads! I would love to be inside the archbishop’s head at this moment! Dare he confront the Queen?

  35. A.David
    December 1, 2019 at 23:14



  36. Stephen M
    December 1, 2019 at 22:01

    I’m not particularly religious, at least not in any conventional sense of that word, but I would like to say to the Archbishop, in keeping with the spirit of Matthew 5:10, that if ever there was anyone “persecuted for righteousness sake,” this would be it.

    • A.David
      December 1, 2019 at 23:14

      TRUE! Thank You

  37. December 1, 2019 at 21:30

    Matthew 5:9

    “Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God.”

    • John chilu
      December 2, 2019 at 18:32

      How long shall they kill our prophet’s while we stand aside and look

  38. bjd
    December 1, 2019 at 20:51

    Let’s hope any response isn’t drowned out (e.g. by the royal PR machine) in the voting circus or the ‘Andrew’-scandal.

  39. Boe
    December 1, 2019 at 20:44

    Yes, can we open it up for others to sign? That would be wonderful. Also what about a letter such as this to the Pope and other world leaders? Thanks for the coverage you give Julian Assange.

  40. Jill
    December 1, 2019 at 20:42


  41. December 1, 2019 at 19:38

    Interesting only 1 former member of Congress, the great Cynthia McKinney, and no current members. Maybe Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, and Jesse Jackson were out of the loop.

    • Yun Xia
      December 1, 2019 at 22:29

      UK act now!

  42. Me my self
    December 1, 2019 at 18:54

    That request is going to be hard to ignore and a positive response even harder.

    Crossing my fingers.

  43. junghi lee
    December 1, 2019 at 18:03

    i would like to sing up too. i am a member of humanity, a student of history, philosophy and politics, and an activist against war of any kind.

    • Lily
      December 2, 2019 at 01:38

      So would i as a member of the family of mankind, artist, activist for justice, peace and human rights, friend of the Russian people and – last not least – as an ardent but rather disappointed Anglophile. This letter will have to be answered and the answer will be a milestone.
      As Craig Murray says, we need Julian Assange. And he needs us.

Comments are closed.