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

Oct 15
Still absorbing the news from Malta - the significance cannot be overstated. 5 years, with so many of us campaigning, to start chipping away at impunity in a single case. This is an important step towards justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia - but what about the bigger picture? 🧵
Globally around 1,000 journalists have been killed in connection with their work over the past decade - the vast majority (around 9 out of 10 cases) committed with full or partial impunity. That’s why it stands out so much when justice is achieved in any case - it’s an anomaly.
This year alone, at @RSF_inter we have tracked killings of 45 journalists and 4 media workers around the world - and we’re only in October. That’s not to mention arbitrary detentions, which are rising year by year. At this moment, a staggering 524 journalists are unjustly jailed.
Read 15 tweets
Apr 20
Today the Westminster Magistrates’ Court will hold a short hearing in the extradition case against Julian Assange. The court is expected to give an order referring the matter back to the Home Office. I’ll be monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates on this thread. 1/
The hearing is listed for 10:15 am UK time. In a welcome change from the previous judge (Vanessa Baraitser), I’ve been granted remote access as an NGO observer. I’ll be following proceedings online and will be outside court afterwards to give a statement for @RSF_inter. 2/
Once the court issues the order, the defence has 4 weeks to make representations, then Home Secretary @pritipatel could approve/reject extradition at any time. @RSF_inter has called on her to protect journalism & press freedom by refusing extradition. She should #FreeAssange! 3/
Read 10 tweets
Jan 24
Back at the High Court this morning awaiting the decision on whether the judges will accept @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s right to appeal his extradition case to the Supreme Court. The hearing starts at 10:45. I’ll be monitoring for @RSF_inter and will have updates here. Image
Today’s decision will follow the High Court’s ruling of 10 December, overturning the district judge’s decision barring Assange’s extradition on mental health grounds. This court found in favour of the US’ diplomatic assurances re. Assange’s treatment. rsf.org/en/news/rsf-co…
Good thread by @StellaMoris1 explaining the various possible scenarios we could see with today’s ruling.
Read 8 tweets
Jan 19
I’ll be back in court today to monitor the ongoing trial in the case of Arron Banks v @carolecadwalla. @RSF_inter and many other expert free expression organisations consider this vexatious case a clear example of SLAPP. I’ll have updates on this thread. rsf.org/en/news/ninete…
Catch up on my live thread from Monday’s proceedings here:
.@johnsweeneyroar’s piece for @BylineTimes on the first two days of the trial is also very good: bylinetimes.com/2022/01/17/arr…
Read 52 tweets
Jan 18
I’ll be back at Kingston Crown Court this afternoon for @RSF_inter to monitor the ongoing trial in the case of Muhammad Gohir Khan, a British citizen accused of conspiring to murder exiled Pakistani blogger @AWGoraya. Catch up on my thread from last week here 👇
These proceedings were expected to last two weeks, and could possibly continue through 1 February. I’m monitoring in person when possible, and @RSF_inter is following closely even when we’re not present in court.
Journalists @MurtazaViews @SecKermani and @AtikaRehman are good to follow for close coverage. Here’s Murtaza’s piece on yesterday’s proceedings: thenews.com.pk/print/926136-a…
Read 5 tweets
Jan 17
I’m at the High Court this morning for @RSF_inter, along with @AzzurraMoores, as @carolecadwalla faces a vexatious defamation suit brought by Arron Banks. RSF is one of many organisations that considers this a SLAPP case, and stands in Carole support. rsf.org/en/news/sixtee…
.@RSF_inter is proud to support @carolecadwalla and her courageous public interest journalism. We were in court by her side when this case opened more than two years ago, and we’ll see it through. We’re also proud she’s one of the 2018 laureates of our Press Freedom Prize.
On Friday, Arron Banks gave lengthy testimony about his case against @carolecadwalla, in which he singles her out (separate from her reporting for @guardian/@ObserverUK) on the basis of a Ted talk and a tweet. Carole is expected to take the stand in her defence today.
Read 43 tweets

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