Anti-war activist Ciaron O’Reilly was detained outside Dublin Castle on April 13th while protesting the extradition of Julian Assange and his incarceration in Belmarsh prison.
The U.S. president Joe Biden was visiting Ireland for 4 days and the anti-war activist, who has been predominantly supporting Assange for the last 11 years, took the opportunity to confront Joe Biden about the attempt by the U.S. to extradite Assange on espionage charges as well as Assange’s detention in Belmarsh prison. Ciaron’s detention occurred while he was attempting to reach Joe Biden to demand the cessation of the extradition of Assange which has been ongoing for the past 4 years. It sees Julian entering his fifth year of imprisonment while protracted extradition proceedings continue.
Tuesday 11th April is 4 years since Julian Assange has been incarcerated in the UK for publishing— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 10, 2023
For seeking out truth and upholding the public's right to know he faces a 175 year sentence if extradited to the US
His wife, two young children and family deserve to be reunited… pic.twitter.com/gVrInx07Gg
Ciaron’s attempt to personally request the end of extradition proceedings was halted by Irish Gardaí (Police) outside the venue where a banquet for the American President was taking place. He had intended to confront Biden face to face and cross police cordons to do so. He carried a large key emblazoned with the words “President Biden, Free Julian Assange”. While attempting to reach Biden he was detained by police for a number of hours as can be seen in the video below.
This is not the first time Ciaron has been detained in Ireland. Twenty years ago Ciaron was arrested as a member of the Pitstop Ploughshares. They were a group of five members of the Catholic Worker Movement who made their way into Shannon Airport and damaged a United States Navy C-40 aircraft en route to Iraq at the start of the Iraq war on 3 February 2003.
Julian Assange is currently facing extradition on espionage charges including the release of classified documents including files about the Iraq war and the Collateral Murder video depicting the murder of journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians during the Iraq war. If extradited Assange could face up to 175 years in prison. Priti Patel signed the request to extradite Assange in June 2022. His legal team are fighting the extradition and filed an appeal to the High Court. They are still waiting for the High Court to approve the grounds of the appeal.
It was the culmination of a busy week for Ciaron who had organised several events to mark the 4th anniversary of Julian’s detention in Belmarsh. Two days prior to his detention in Dublin, Ciaron organised an event outside the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange had been held in arbitrary detention for the previous 7 years before being arrested and taken to Belmarsh in 2018. Ciaron can be heard here introducing Craig Murray at the event.
Ciaron then travelled to Dublin to confront the American president Joe Biden who was attending the banquet at Dublin castle as part of a visit to Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Ciaron said of his arrest,
‘Joe seemed to drop his key to Julian Assange’s cell, I was merely returning it. Dublin castle is a former prison, much like His Majesty’s Prison in Belmarsh where Julian is being presently held in London! Many Irish were tortured and killed here, just like Julian is being treated today’
Pressure has increased on Biden to release Assange with members of his own party as well as Republican party members calling for the extradition to be dropped. Biden has also been beseeched by many politicians globally requesting he end the extradition attempt by the United States.
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