If you have read my blogs about Pussy Riot and the danger to free speech in Russia, I think it is only fair that I point out the obvious parallel in the West. Julian Assange is hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and if he sets foot outside he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden to face charges. From there he will be extradited to the USA where he faces charges that carry the death sentence.
Julian has a lot of enemies in Government circles around the world, simply because he is a modern day ‘whistle blower.’ His organization is responsible for embarrassing many governments and that is the basis for the actions being taken against him. He may be Australian but even his government is doing little to help him. It seems that they too have been on the end of his ‘press releases.’
Potentially Julian is facing far more dire consequences than Pussy Riot does in Russia. The USA has made noises about the Pussy Riot situation, but at the same time is extending its influence over the Assange dilemma. Perhaps the USA and the UK should look at themselves before they go off at the Russians.
The right of citizens to speak out against the perceived failings of their governments is at risk in many countries; ones that purport to being paragons of virtue when it comes to free speech. There is a need for them to examine their own positions before they strike out at other nations. The silence from our New Zealand Government is also deafening on this issue.
Hopefully the power of the masses will keep this important issue in the lime light.