Contributed from Victoria
Journalist, editor and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange will not be let out of a London Prison, even with recent COVID-19 outbreak. The British court announced on Wednesday [British time].
There have been world wide calls for his release from prison, and because prisons keep inmates crowded together, they are potential hot spots for the spread of infection. Julian Assange’s health is already compromised. He is in the high risk category.
At the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected a plea from the Assange defense team, calling on the British authorities to release the Wikileaks founder from the high-security Belmarsh prison.
Baraitser, who is overlooking the extradition case, ruled that the Wikileaks founder should remain in prison.
Her argument is that he is a high risk of absconding. But she has failed to answer how he would leave, when flights and other means of traveling abroad are in lock down.
Defence lawyers pointed out that the scheduled continuation of the exrtadition case due to begin on 18 May, is likely to be delayed for a considerable time, because of the pandemic lock down. It would add further pressure on the defendant’s state of health.
The magistrate made it clear in the first part of the extradition hearing that she is partisan, and she will give no quarters. Assange sat in the court room, separated from his legal team and in a glass box. he was prevented from conducting, what would normally be considered a proper defence.
Despite the difficulties, the defense team attempted to argue that the journalist’s health was at stake, as he has already suffered under the current prison conditions.
Contrary to the impression created, Julian Assange has never been charged for committing a crime. Critics have said that continuing with the application for extradition, is a violation of British law and treaty obligations. They even suggest that this is a political trial and Julian Assange has little chance of having a fair hearing.
Assange “has become a political prisoner in this country”
Video from Ruptly
Assange’s lawyer continue to argue that they are not being given enough time to see their lawyer and properly prepare a defense case. Contrary to the supposed ending of solitary confinement, he is still being locked up for 23 hours a day. Virtually all visits to see him have been cancelled.
As bleak as it may seem, Julian Assange’s courage, the exposure of what is going on and the growing list of supporters may still force his release.