Investigating the Julian Assange & WikiLeaks case

I am an Italian investigative journalist working for a major Italian daily. I have spent the last 5 years working, among other things, to defend the right of the press to access the full documentation on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case using FOIA to factually reconstruct the case, as journalists are supposed to do. I am conducting this investigation in my personal capacity, as no media in the world appears interested in pursuing this effort, though my newspaper has published my investigations based on this work.


In 2015, after Julian Assange had already spent 5 years arbitrarily detained, I realised that not a single journalist in the world had ever tried to get access to the full documentation on his case and on the case of the WikiLeaks journalists, who have been under investigation by the US authorities since 2010.

Dozens of reporters have covered the case, but none of them have tried to get the full documentation to investigate it and to rigorously reconstruct it: an unbeliavable failure of journalism, as I told ExBerliner in this interview:

https://www.exberliner.com/features/julian-assange-trial-2020/stefania-maurizi-assange-interview/

I have filed my Freedom of Information requests in Sweden, UK, US and Australia. The Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case has been going on for ten years and I have spent the last five years trying to get the documents using FOIA and litigating my FOIA in four jurisdictions. My lawyers and I are still fighting to get the documents, which provides a measure of the secrecy around this case.

I have seven lawyers working for me on this FOIA litigation,I am fighting in the US, UK, Australia and Sweden. My lawyers and I have experienced exceptionally difficult situations and unprecedented decisions.

Some of my lawyers have worked completely pro bono, others at highly reduced fees, but fees are still substantial. I paid around 6,000 euros in legal fees out of my own pocket, but I couldn't afford further thousands and thousands of euros in legal fees, so I applied for a grant. Fortunately, one of the best Foundations in the world supporting investigative journalism awarded me two grants. I used them for the legal fees alone, I have never taken a single euro for my work on this FOIA litigation, which I have done completely for free.

The two grants have allowed me to discover tremendously important information, such as the role of the UK authorities in contributing to create the legal and diplomatic quagmire, which has kept Julian Assange arbitrarily detained for the last 10 years.

My FOIA litigation has also allowed me and my lawyers to discover the destruction of crucial documents by the UK authorities.

A month after I discovered the destruction of that crucial documentation, my phone was secretly unscrewed inside the Ecuadorean embassy, while I was meeting with Julian Assange. All my devices were accessed: photos of my devices and unscrewed phones were taken in full secrecy, as I later discovered. To this day, it is unclear why this happened, and I have filed a criminal complaint, because I want to discover the truth.

I need your help to support part of the legal fees of my FOIA effort and my criminal complaint as well. I would be hugely grateful for your support: it really can make a difference. Truth is a collective endeavour.

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Organizer

Stefania Maurizi 
Organizer
Fabro, Italy
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