Merkel Is Sent Letter on Assange Before Her Visit to Biden

On her way to the White House, the German chancellor has a received a letter from Bundestag members, journalists and artists telling her to bring up Assange with the U.S. president.

Merkel and Biden kissing at 2015 Munich Security Conference with then Secretary of State John Kerry looking on. (Mueller / MSC/Flickr)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is headed to Washington on Thursday for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and a group of 120 Bundestag members, German journalists, writers and artists have sent her a letter telling her to ask Biden to “save face” and release imprisoned journalist Julian Assange on humanitarian grounds.

“We sincerely ask you to help build bridges in the Julian Assange case,” says the letter, dated July 11, according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). Merkel was told “how important it is in the interests of defending freedom of the press to drop the lawsuit against the Wikileaks founder so that he can recover freely with his family.”

Merkel was urged to find “a humanitarian solution for Assange and a face-saving solution for the U.S. President,” the letter said. “It would be a strong, lasting humanitarian gesture at the end of your term of office and for President Joe Biden, finally, an opportunity to leave the Donald Trump era behind completely in the interests of protecting freedom of the press and freedom of expression.” 

Merkel is leaving office later this year and this will be her last trip to Washington. Days after Assange’s 2019 arrest, a spokesperson for Merkel’s office said his case “is a matter which doesn’t concern Germany and is in the hands of British justice.” 

The letter said the prosecution of Assange is “incompatible with the rule of law, and the dire conditions of detention are a humanitarian scandal.” The Chancellor was told that “in view of the threatening health condition of Assange, there is an urgent need for action. It is in the hands of Biden to end the legal proceedings initiated by his predecessor against Assange and to drop the charges.” 

The letter was initiated by well-known investigative journalist Günter Wallraff and was signed by cross-party Bundestag members from from Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats (FDP), die Linke (theLeft) and the Greens.

Several ex-government ministers also signed it, including Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), Gerhart Baum (FDP), Oskar Lafontaine (Left), the writer Elfriede Jelinek and Alice Schwarzer, editor of the magazine Emma.  Last year, a group of German parliamentarians visited Assange in Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since April 2019.  His extradition was denied in January but he is awaiting the outcome of a U.S. appeal.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

 

 

11 comments for “Merkel Is Sent Letter on Assange Before Her Visit to Biden

  1. marie jegado
    July 16, 2021 at 08:08

    J’ai toujours su que Angela Merkel était plus sage que les autres .
    Elle a pris soin des Allemands malgré des erreurs
    Et aujourd’hui, mes respects Mme Merkel’

  2. Jean-Luc DESPREZ
    July 16, 2021 at 06:52

    Please, please! Freedom for Assange

  3. July 15, 2021 at 01:24

    Mostrar la Verdad de los hechos puede doler, incomodar pero sigue siendo Verdad. Asumirla engrandece, NO asumirla es responsabilizarse de todo lo que generó y genera.

  4. Stephen
    July 13, 2021 at 16:50

    How this deranged Merkel continues winning elections is a mystery considering all the damage she has done to Germany, particularly through immigration.

    • Josep
      July 15, 2021 at 15:49

      My guess is it’s because heads of state are selected, not elected. I think it’s part and parcel of this sham of ‘democracy’ that we live in.

  5. July 13, 2021 at 15:37

    POEM FOR JULIAN ASSANGE

    I came to know some people on line
    We fight for the same mighty guy
    To free an imprisoned hero we know
    He’s not free yet but still we all try

    To release him to do his great work
    Of exposing American crimes
    The murder of inocent civilians
    These sure are horrible times

    You exit your house in afganistan
    Or Syria Vietnam or Iraq
    The last you see is your children destroyed
    In a sensless firery attack

    A drone as big as a school bus
    Had spied you from 2 miles away
    By an operator who didnt know who you were
    Who is based in a house in L.A.

    A film they took is for training
    By an American computer team
    But Julian seeks them out for Wiki
    Then shows us the film in a meme

    These criminals seem to have the idea
    They can, if they want, take control
    Of every small situation they see
    Like an IDF murdering soldiers roll.

    But no the world will not  take it
    We facebook, we shout and we scream
    And our man Assange is the man we need
    To turn a nightmare into a dream

    Where children can play on a street or a beach
    Without getting shot from the sky
    Where good men can gather and chat
    Without looking up to ask why

    Why is that drone in our cloudless skys
    What have we done to the states
    That a man in a room in Los Angeles
    Has a grudge with a man who sells dates

    Well Julian we really need you my friend
    So we hope you go free as the birds
    So you can fly round this troubled old world
    And stop all this carnage with words

    The kidnapping murders and shootings
    of inocent people like us
    Who want to live life as it should be
    In peace and love with no fuss

    So come on Julian you lovely young man
    Jump up and down in your cell
    And tell us all what you want us to do
    To release you from that bloody hell.

    Belmarsh the prison is hell on earth
    Where an inocent man’s in the can
    We take on the judges and shout out the truth
    Till you’re free you wonderful man..

  6. MagdaTam
    July 13, 2021 at 05:15

    RE: John Smith
    July 12, 2021 at 11:00

    “There is no “face saving” to be done when one commits crimes”

    You are mistaken.

    The half-live of “face saving” is short and only facilitated on the bases of real-politik, not by conflating the rule of man with the “rule of law” as apparently some in the Budestag realise, hence some of the register of their letter.

    The half-live of the perception of some tends to be shorter than the half-live of “face saving” and when it is not that is not a particular problem given the immersive nature of ideology and the wish of spectators to believe/emote.

    One potential problem is the ideology of the would-be-decider including immersion in notions of making an offer others can’t refuse, hence some of the register of the letter since the hubris of others is often a useful vector.

    Artificial insemination is quite prevalent nowadays, but previous perceptions may be more apt including “If you want to have babies, virginity is not an option, unless you steal the babies”.

  7. rosemerry
    July 13, 2021 at 03:53

    “in the hands of British justice.” but ordered by the USA, like the latest command to the EU not to punish the poor humanitarian tech giants by making them pay any tax.

    If this is true and it has an effect, it will be wonderful, especially since the rest of the “EU” is spineless about Julian Assange.

  8. Andrew Nichols
    July 12, 2021 at 17:55

    Again, absent from Corporate State Friendly Media like all other important info on this Man in The Iron Mask trial. He’s doomed

  9. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 12, 2021 at 11:35

    Sorry – I suppose Merkel is much more likely to bring up Russia’s imprisonment of the fraudster Navalny, and join Biden in condemning China snd Russia for prosecuting journalists.

    I hope I am wrong.

  10. John Smith
    July 12, 2021 at 11:00

    There is no “face saving” to be done when one commits crimes. The U.S. government has done so repeatedly, and must cease its persecution and incarceration of Assange immediately whether it wants to or not.

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