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"His Crime Has Been Journalism": John Pilger, Fidel Narvaez & Vivienne Westwood on Julian Assange

Renowned designer Vivienne Westwood slammed the United Kingdom, saying “we live in a totalitarian country now” during the launch on Saturday in London of ‘In Defense of Julian Assange’, a book she contributed to, along with 38 other co-writers.

Westwood called upon the press to “start the story by getting people’s sympathy to the fact this man might die while he is in solitary confinement,” before criticising how the UK government acted in Assange’s case.

“We live in a totalitarian country now, because of the way they are behaving, it’s obvious. It’s in-your-face lies, in-your-face torture and in-your-face guilt, before you’ve been even, you know I mean, the verdict has been made before you had your trial,” she said.

“I am so frightened that the government don’t care if he dies in jail,” the designer added. “We all really need this press report that starts to tell the truth, because people have only heard lies up until now but I believe people are really lovely and when they hear the truth, they’ll prefer it to the lies.”

Australian journalist and Bafta award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger, another contributor on the book who was also at the event, expressed how “terribly ironic” Assange’s crime was.

“His crime has been journalism, he’s shamed other journalists for not doing the kind of work he has done, for not performing the public service that he has,” he said.

‘In Defense of Julian Assange’ was edited by author and historian Tariq Ali alongside civil rights attorney Margaret Kunstler, featuring contributions by prominent journalists, whistle-blowers and activists, discussing the prosecution and treatment of the WikiLeaks founder.

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