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URGENT CALL: Allow Julian Assange to prepare his defence - move him out of Belmarsh NOW!

PETITION to UK Minister of Justice

Saturday 14 March 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://www.change.org/p/uk-minister-of-state-for-prisons-and-probation-urgent-call-allow-julian-assange-to-prepare-his-defence-move-him-out-of-belmarsh-now?signed=true

URGENT CALL: Allow Julian Assange to prepare his defence - move him out of Belmarsh NOW!

Davey Heller a lancé cette pétition adressée à Lucy Frazer Q.C.- Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) et à 2 autres

SIGNEZ la pétition ici

(For Italian and Polish translation, please scroll down - Per la traduzione italiana, si prega di scorrere in basso dopo il testo in inglese)

The signatories of this petition demand that the UK Prison service immediately transfer Assange out of the harsh maximum security regime of Belmarsh Prison to a minimum security facility commensurate with his status of non-violent political prisoner on remand.

Julian Assange was kept in the “healthcare” ward in solitary confinement from late May 2019. After pressure from campaigners, protests, petitions (such as this one), other prisoners in Belmarsh unhappy at his treatment and his lawyers Julian was finally take out of isolation into a small ward in Belmarsh. However this means he is severely limited in his visitation rights to family, supporters and even lawyers and his legal documents. Belmarsh has withheld his ingoing and outgoing mail which included legal documents for extended periods. He has been unable to contact his lawyers in the US.

These conditions have two dire consequences for Julian Assange.

Firstly, they are leading to a further deterioration of his health with potentially fatal consequences. In a statement released on November 1st, The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, stated:

“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life."

On November 25th, sixty eminent doctors from around the world in an open letter to the UK Home Secretary issued the following warning:

It is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.

Secondly, these conditions are undermining Julian Assange’s fundamental legal rights to understand the charges being made against him and participate in his own defence. Julian Assange is facing up to 175 years in jail if extradited to the United States after being charged under the Espionage Act for his work with Wikileaks in publishing the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and the State Department Cables in 2010.

Julian Assange himself summed up this in court in a statement to the judge on October 21st:

“I don’t understand how this is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case, and I can’t access my writings. It’s very difficult where I am to do anything, but these people have unlimited resources.”

At a November 18th court appearance for Julian Assange, Gareth Pierce representing Assange stated:

“The most important of the impediments that we are facing is Mr Assange’s ability to access what he needs to work on his own case.”

When Julian Assange was denied bail by District judge Vanessa Baraitser on September 13th, she cited that he was deemed a flight risk. Regardless of the veracity of this assessment, this concern would be equally met if Julian Assange was being held in a minimum security facility.

Therefore the decision to keep an unconvicted, non-violent publisher and journalist at Belmarsh under conditions where he cannot recover or participate in his own defence, without justification, can only be seen as punitive and vindictive.

The signatories of this petition object completely to the imprisonment and prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing and journalism. We are concerned that the injustice of Assange’s prosecution is being severely compounded by the harshness of the conditions he is being kept in, which are literally putting his life at risk.

We therefore demand that the UK prison system immediately move Julian Assange to a minimum security facility in the UK, where his health can be better attended to and he can participate in his own defence.

In light of the open letter signed by 65 preeminent doctors asking UK Home Secretary Pritti Pattel, we also urge that this advice be followed and Julian Assange be immediately moved to a tertiary care hospital. If and when he recovers he must not be returned once again to the punitive high security conditions at Belmarsh.

Unless this action is taken, the ongoing failure of the UK government and prison service to remedy this situation will be condemned around the world.

SIGNEZ la pétition ici