Craig Murray’s prison sentence “has very worrying implications for free speech”

Press release, May 13 2021

Labour Campaign for Free Speech fears that Craig Murray is being made a scapegoat because of his support for Julian Assange and Alex Salmond

The Labour Campaign for Free Speech condemns the harsh eight months’ prison sentence imposed on former ambassador and torture whistleblower Craig Murrray. The contempt of court case against Craig poses a grave threat to press freedom, as independent scrutiny of the powers-that-be is vital to any democratic society. This ruling has important ramifications  for all those journalists wishing to deliver balanced reporting by covering the defence case. This is because the wide interpretation of the term ‘jigsaw identification’ present in the judgement can be misused to prevent public understanding of the entirety of a case. 

The campaign worries that Murray seems to have been singled out for prosecution, even though a range of other journalists provided more information than he did. It is also deeply troubling  that the sheer mechanics of the contempt of court hearings mean there is no jury trial, which means Craig is not being judged by a jury of his peers. 

“Craig is an outspoken and determined, independent journalist. Through his insightful writing and his documentation of a range of judicial cases and of political machinations, he has uncovered serious abuses of power”, said Dr Deepa Driver, a member of the campaign’s Steering Committee.  

The campaign is gravely concerned  that Craig Murray’s prosecution is convenient to those who wish to suppress his reporting because of the uncomfortable facts he has revealed about the inhuman and illegal treatment of Julian Assange. 

“This judgement means that the court has denied Mr Murray the right to appear in-person as a witness in a prosecution in Spain against a company that systematically breached Julian Assange’s rights to privacy for legally privileged conversations with his lawyers. The company was used by the CIA to spy on Julian Assange, and elements of that trial are vital to Mr Assange’s ongoing defence. Mr Assange remains in Belmarsh prison without charge, despite winning the battle against extradition”, Dr Driver said. 

This seems to be “the first instance in Scottish legal history where ‘jigsaw identification’ has led to an individual being imprisoned,” a statement released on behalf of Murray’s family stated.

This harsh sentence also seems to be politically motivated as a result of Craig Murray’s support for Alex Salmond, who, we should remember, was acquitted by a jury on all 14 counts of sexual harassment and assault brought against him.

The Labour Campaign for Free Speech supports Craig Murray’s campaign to raise legal funds and has made a donation of £250, urging its supporters to follow suit: 

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