FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2023
CONTACT: Melissa Garriga | [email protected] | 228-990-4168
Edward Erikson | [email protected]
CODEPINK's Co-founder and Ben & Jerry's Co-founder Arrested for Blocking DOJ Entrance While Protesting US Government’s Prosecution of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange
Washington, D.C. - Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, and Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK, have been arrested for blocking the entrance to the Department of Justice. Cohen and Evans arrived in Washington, D.C. to protest the US government’s prosecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, who has been indicted on 18 charges for the publication of the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs, which uncovered war crimes, torture, and civilian deaths perpetrated by the US government.
“It’s outrageous. Julian Assange is nonviolent. He is presumed innocent. And yet somehow or other, he has been imprisoned in solitary confinement for four years. That is torture….He revealed the truth, and for that he is suffering, and that’s we we need to do whatever we can to help him, and to help preserve democracy, which is based on freedom of the press,” Ben Cohen said during the demonstration. “It seems to me that, right now, unless things change, and unless we change them, freedom of the press is going up in smoke.”
"Why do we have freedom of press? Because there needs to be someone reporting the truth about the violence of power….When you don't have freedom of the press and no one's telling the truth, it weaponizes your capacity to feel, to have compassion and empathy. Because if you don't have the full story and if your heart is being manipulated with lies, then we're all lost. How can we have peace in the world if we're just drowning in lies?" Jodie Evans said.
Cohen and Evans asked to enter the Department of Justice to discuss their attack on the freedom of press. Security guards denied them access. They proceeded to sit peacefully in the entrance until DC Metropolitan Police arrested them.
Members of Congress, world leaders, as well as major publishers, have urged the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Julian Assange due to the threat it poses to the First Amendment and press freedom.
The Obama administration declined to indict Assange because it would risk criminalizing basic journalistic activities that every mainstream media outlet engages in on a regular basis.
This month, UK High Court Judge Jonathan Swift rejected Assange’s most recent appeal, pushing him ‘dangerously close’ to extradition. The Australian government, where Assange is a citizen, is currently working through diplomatic channels to end Assange’s incarceration, while his legal team continues the appeal process.
Julian Assange is currently confined in Belmarsh's maximum-security prison in London and has been since April 2019. If extradited, he will face up to 175 years in prison.
For more information about AssangeDefense.org.