Julian Assange wins 2013 Courage award from Yoko Ono

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has won the Yoko Ono Lennon “Courage Award for the Arts”.

Being still cooped up in the Ecuardorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London, Assange was unable to collect the award at the ceremony in New York on Sunday.

However, his lawyers Baltasar Garzon and Michael Ratner collected it for him in his place, at an event attended by approximately 150 people.

Assange’s speech in his absence read:

“First of all, I want to thank Yoko Ono Lennon for her courage and spirit in granting me this award. A fine woman whose many actions define her.

“People often ask me how I keep going. They ask as if my work was some kind of burden to me. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no greater pleasure than fighting for your principles.

“There is no greater pleasure than in fighting for those who have risked all to share your vision. And there is no greater pleasure than seeing those who you admire, in turn, move to fight for you.

“And while the embassy that shelters me is still surrounded by armed police, my voice is free.

“Within the constraints of the UK surveillance operation outside, I am free to see my staff and my friends.

Many have fought and continue to fight to permit this basic liberty and I am grateful to them.”

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