Rocker Roger Waters Defends Julian Assange, Says 'Ruling Class' Are Behind WikiLeaks Founder's Imprisonment

Former Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters spoke during a recent interview about support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and blamed the "ruling class" on his imprisonment.

"The ruling class, the powers that be... the corporate world, the rich people, the people who run everything, the people who tell [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and Donald Trump what to do," he said of those who were responsible. "I'm not suggesting there are men in hoods and secret societies but we all see what's happening."

The musician was scheduled to play at a rally in support of Assange Saturday. The rally was expected to begin with a march from London's Australia House to Parliament Square, ahead of Assange's extradition trial on Monday.

Assange is currently imprisoned in Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh. In May 2019, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in the U.K. for breaching the Bail Act. In the U.S., he was indicted on computer intrusion charges relating to leaks. Weeks later, the U.S. government also charged the WikiLeaks founder with violating the Espionage Act of 1917.

In a clip promoting the rally, Waters stood in front of an inflatable pig--a reference to Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals--with a 'Free Assange' poster plastered on it. Waters said that once the march gets to Parliament Square, "two of us will open our big mouths and say how we feel about free speech in general and this hero of ours, Julian Assange, in particular."

"He hasn't had a trial," he said. "The whole old adage of you being innocent until proven guilty by a jury of 12 of your peers has been tossed out of the window by the U.K. government and the U.S. government, and in consequence, Julian lives in solitary confinement. He's committed no crime that anyone is aware of with the possible exception of a bail infringement for which he has already served 300 days in prison."

Waters called for Assange to remain in the U.K., believing he would be charged under the Espionage Act if extradited to the U.S. "If they are allowed to extradite him from here, they will, and they will lock him up until he dies," said the musician, "which probably won't be very long, just for being a journalist and informing the public of the things we need to know in our names by our governments."

In an interview with the U.K.'s Sky News about the matter, Waters said: "I am representing the thoughts of ordinary people who believe in the law, freedom, and the freedom of the press and free speech."

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Roger Waters performs at Maracana Stadium on October 24, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Raphael Dias/Getty