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UK: ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Not Sick With Covid-19, But Says Many in Belmarsh Are

Saturday 11 April 2020, by siawi3


ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Not Sick With Covid-19, But Says Many in Belmarsh Are

April 10, 2020

In a phone conversation with Vaughan Smith, Julian Assange, apparently uninfected, says the virus is “ripping through” Belmarsh prison and that he spends 30 minutes a day in a crowded prison yard.

Consortium News

Julian Assange has told a friend in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that he is living in a prison in which the coronavirus is “ripping through” the population. He told photojournalist Vaughan Smith, founder of London’s Frontline Club, that he is isolated 23 1/2 hours a day and spends 30 minutes in a prison yard packed with other inmates. More than 150 Belmarsh guards are in self-isolation and the prison is barely functioning, Smith said.

Assange did not show up for a video link to his case management hearing at Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. A court official was overheard by three people present in the courtroom saying that Assange was “unwell.” He is not infected with Covid-19, but Vaughan says his life is threatened by it in prison.


Vaughan Smith
9 avril, 06:59 ·

Julian Assange called me yesterday from Belmarsh prison. His incarceration in the time of Covid 19 threatens his life.

Julian is now confined alone in a cell for 23 1/2 hours every day. He gets half an hour of exercise and that is in a yard crowded with other prisoners. With over 150 Belmarsh prison staff off work self-isolating, the prison is barely functioning.

We know of 2 Covid 19 deaths in Belmarsh so far, though the Department of Justice have admitted to only one death. Julian told me that there have been more and that the virus is ripping through the prison.

The Prison Governors’ Association recently advised that 15,000 non-violent prisoners should be released to give British jails a chance of managing COVID-19.

The Department of Justice suggested releasing 4,000 prisoners but as of a few days ago, only about 100 had actually been released.

Julian is only on remand and is obviously non-violent but he is not one of them and Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser ruled against bail for Julian when his lawyers applied for it last week.

Despite Covid 19, Julian’s hearing has been confirmed to still somehow start on 18 May and Julian is convinced this is happening to disadvantage him legally. Unable to meet with his lawyers he cannot prepare his defence properly.

Julian Assange is a political prisoner and his treatment is a national disgrace. While Iran has responded to Covid 19 by letting Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out of prison, British justice is being gamed against Julian in a further act of cowardly vengeance.