On the way back to the Old Bailey this morning to try again to monitor the US extradition hearing in the case of @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. The court has severely restricted NGO access, so it is very uncertain whether my @RSF_inter colleague @cmihr & I will get in. 1/
The court has refused to recognise or accommodate the role of professional NGO observers, so we are left to compete for spaces in the public gallery, which has been limited to 2 to 5 people, despite the fact that there are 36 seats in that part of the overflow courtroom alone. 2/
On day 1, we finally got in due to the intervention of the German embassy & political observers. On day 2, I was able to monitor the afternoon session thanks to the kindness of an activist who had queued for hours & gave me his seat so we could tell the world what’s happening. 3/
Make no mistake: the public has the right to know what is happening in this case. And what’s at stake is not just the fate of Julian Assange, but journalism & press freedom itself. Ultimately it’s the public’s right to information that will suffer. My comments for @RSF_inter👇 4/
Yesterday Professor Mark Feldstein said to the court: “To criminalise news-gathering, to criminalise publishing, is to criminalise journalism itself”, a statement that we very much share at @RSF_inter. If the US government is successful, this will not stop with Julian Assange. 5/
Here’s hoping that some combination of our extensive efforts will result in court access today. But it shouldn’t be this difficult. This has never been our experience in any other case, anywhere. I’ll update once we know what’s happening - but we lose our devices if we get in. 6/
We’re in a similar position to yesterday. Two activist heroes have queued from the wee hours & are giving us their spots. They want us to be able to speak out for everyone. Journalists have also said this - we are their eyes & ears. We take this v seriously & will do our best. 7/
Thank you so much Jamie (@rubio49158845) and Sandra! We are so grateful for your kindness and efforts to #FreeAssange! 8/ Image
However, as with every other aspect of this process, it’s not so straightforward. We are third and fourth in the queue, and will only get in at 11 am if some mysterious “VIPs” don’t turn up (they didn’t yesterday). No one knows who they are. 9/
Still no sign of the “VIPs”, but court management has now decided we must wait outside until 12 pm to see if they show - meaning all of this effort will result in one hour max in court before the lunch break (followed by more queuing). Death by a thousand cuts...10/
Still here. We’re not going anywhere. #FreeAssange 11/ Image
We finally got in - as noted by @dhbln, 110 minutes into this morning’s proceedings. Thanks so much to Dustin and other political observers who keep fighting for our access from inside the courtroom. 12/
We were able to monitor about 45 minutes of Professor Paul Rogers’ testimony, in which he spoke of his belief that the US case against Assange is politically motivated. We won’t monitor this afternoon, but I’ll be back in the morning to try again. 13/
I spoke to @DEAcampaign about our observations from this morning. That’s all for now - but we reiterate our call to #FreeAssange! /14
Oh...lots of rumours circulating about who these mysterious no-show “VIPs” are... Image

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More from @rebecca_vincent

11 Aug
Today at 10:30 am the UK High Court will begin to consider the US government’s appeal against the court decision opposing @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. I’ll be in court monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates on this thread. #FreeAssange
For the first time in the extradition proceedings against Assange, the court has accredited professional NGO observers. I’ve been assigned a seat in the well of the court for @RSF_inter, as has a representative of @amnesty. Frankly I will fully trust this only once I’m inside. 2/
Those who have been following will know the long and difficult history of our access issues at 3 prior courts in this case. @RSF_inter has been the only NGO to monitor the full extradition proceedings despite severe restrictions previously imposed by the District Judge. 3/
Read 25 tweets
10 Aug
Tomorrow at 10:30 the UK High Court will hold a preliminary hearing in the US government’s appeal against the court decision opposing @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s extradition to the US.

A reading list of @RSF_inter materials for those interested (thread).

Please note that we are the only NGO that has monitored the full extradition proceedings, despite severe restrictions imposed by the court. Our analysis is based on in-person observations of each stage of these proceedings. 2/
.@RSF_inter’s observations and analysis of the first week of proceedings at Woolwich Crown Court in February 2020 when legal arguments were heard, underscoring the US’ lack of evidence for the charges against Assange: rsf.org/en/news/uk-leg… 3/
Read 13 tweets
27 May
Starting now: @HouseofCommons is holding a Westminster Hall Debate on global press freedom to mark World Press Freedom Day earlier this month, sponsored by @DamianCollins as Chair of the APPG on Media Freedom. Watch live here: parliamentlive.tv/event/index/8a…
Strong start from @DamianCollins, mentioning the situation in Belarus, the murders of Jamal Khashoggi & #DaphneCaruanaGalizia, @mariaressa’s fight to #HoldTheLine in the Philippines, the SLAPP case against @CatherineBelton & many more worrying examples, citing @RSF_inter figures.
.@jeremycorbyn raises concerns around media ownership, the need to ensure access for all to social media, the case of Anabel Hernandez in Mexico, the jailing of journalists around the world, the arrest of Roman Pratasevich in Belarus, and the targeting of journalists in Gaza.
Read 21 tweets
31 Jan
It’s been a worrying few days for UK press freedom. On Thursday, photojournalist @andyaitchison was arrested for photographing a protest against poor conditions in Napier Barracks, a military camp in Kent housing hundreds of asylum seekers. 1/

On Friday, government equalities minister @KemiBadenoch triggered a flood of abuse & threats against @HuffPostUK reporter @Nadine_Writes by smearing her (in an 8-part Twitter thread) simply for doing her job by asking a question in the public interest. 2/

This comes just a week after government minister @nadhimzahawi and other Tory MPs attacked @yorkshirepost and @RobynVinter for their accurate public interest reporting on Covid jabs being diverted to other regions. 3/

Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
Good morning. I’ll have updates on Julian Assange’s bail hearing on this thread today. The hearing takes place at 10 am GMT at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. @RSF_inter calls again for Assange’s immediate release.

#FreeAssange 1/
I’m on my way to court. Escaped the hellish queue for the public gallery today only because Assange’s family have been kind enough to put me on their list - so unless the court pulls something funny, I should get in without problems today. 2/
The thought of walking into court at a reasonable time and taking a seat like a normal person today seems like a luxury. We’ve been treated so terribly in monitoring hearings in this case since last February. Again, this is not how we’re accustomed to doing our jobs, anywhere. 3/
Read 28 tweets
5 Jan
Hello new followers! Can I introduce you to some of @RSF_inter’s other priority cases? They all deserve much more attention and support! Thread.
#DaphneCaruanaGalizia was a courageous Maltese journalist assassinated by a car bomb near her home in October 2017. More than three years on, there’s still been no justice for Daphne or the extensive corruption she had uncovered. Some background here: rsf.org/en/news/malta-…
We are working to support her family’s campaign for #JusticeforDaphne. Follow @daphnefdtn, her sons @mcaruanagalizia, @acaruanagalizia & @pcaruanagalizia, her sisters @Corinne_Vella & @MandyMallia, and her niece @meg_mallia. @TheShiftNews is also an excellent resource.
Read 12 tweets

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