By Jacob Jarvis
A Julian Assange supporter wants to coordinate classical music performances outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to “afford some beauty” to the WikiLeaks founder inside.
Australian-born Mr Assange has been within the building, in Knightsbridge, since 2012.
Gordon Parnell, a 62-year-old Canadian who has lived in Mexico since 1991, said he wishes to show his support for Mr Assange, which is why he is attempting to find talented individuals or ensembles to entertain him.
“I am not a musician but know what a delight music is to the soul especially when the mind is stuck on something or lacking in stimulation,” he told the Standard.
After reading an article about Mr Assange recently, he said: “It occurred to me what a delight it would be to hear some lovely classical music wafting in from the street, like carol singing at Christmas.
“I imagine it would afford him some beauty in an otherwise boring and cloistered world.”
Mr Assange first sought refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was to be questioned after being accused of sex crimes – though these allegations were dropped by authorities.
If he exits the embassy it has been stated he would be able to be arrested based on a long-standing warrant for skipping bail in the UK.
Mr Assange is said to fear that if he were to be arrested he could be extradited to the United States over his WikiLeaks activity.
Lawyers for him have argued against his potential arrest and pleaded for him to be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy without fear of this due to him suffering from depression and physical ailments, including a frozen shoulder and bad tooth.
The Ecuadorian government cut off Mr Assange’s internet access in March due to messages he shared on social media.
Ecuador’s president is trying to work with Britain on providing a legal solution that would see Mr Assange leave the embassy.
Mr Parnell said he has not had uptake from musicians yet though he still hopes to be able to coordinate something and is “just at the first tiny step of this idea”.
He described Mr Assange as “a hero” for his work in “getting the truth out”.
His advert for “musicians to serenade Julian Assange” has been posted on Craigslist.
He also wrote another piece online which said: “To make Julian’s hours inside the embassy just a bit more bearable; I am calling on musicians everywhere to perform live music outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to provide a modicum of beauty to an otherwise bleak existence inside the embassy.”
He added: “If just one concert were to take place, I think that might generate enough interest to rally the troops, so to speak.”
WikiLeaks was founded by Mr Assange in 2006 and has published more than 10 million documents.
Amongst its releases, often from coordination with whistle blowers, is footage from a 2007 airstrike, in which Iraqi journalists were amongst the fatalities, multiple US military logs, including many from the war in Afghanistan.
Mr Assange has recently stepped down as its editor-in-chief due to his lack of internet access and a statement said he remained “incommunicado” – though he remains publisher of the outlet.
Credit: The Evening Standard, www.standard.co.uk