One year already: anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrest
|Comité Free Assange Belgium 09/04/2020|
This Saturday, April 11, 2020, it will be one year since Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was literally kidnapped from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by the British police and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. Although no further charges were brought against him at the end of his sentence, Julian Assange is still being held in Belmarsh.
Tradotto da Fausto Giudice
On 25 March, in defiance of the current health crisis, British judge Vanessa Baraitser refused to grant Assange the bail his lawyers were seeking because of a chronic lung disease that exposes him more specifically to the risks of contracting Covid-19, which are clearly increased in an overcrowded prison environment.
However, according to a prison administration report on 7 April reported by the BBC, a first prisoner died of coronavirus infection in the high-security prison of Belmarsh, while several other infected prisoners have been identified there.
And while Julian Assange’s legal team had already faced multiple obstructions in contacting him, preparing a proper defence for his extradition request to the US has become practically a mission impossible since the British government introduced new restrictions on prisoners on 20 March.
However, this did not prevent, on 7 April, the same judge Vanessa Baraitser from categorically refusing the postponement of the next extradition hearings initially planned for May – the most terrible scenario seems to be taking shape in the eyes of the Free Assange Belgium Committee and other supporters: a defence without the means to prepare these hearings as well as possible, and an expeditious judgment without family, witnesses or press….
Today, therefore, what at the beginning was a clear political scandal against Julian Assange is accompanied by a double sanitary and judicial scandal.
As a result of the generalized confinement, the Free Assange Belgium Committee continues in virtual mode its Monday support rallies via the facebook page “La Manif chez soi“.
We dare to hope that the Western press, as it repeatedly does for imprisoned Chinese whistleblowers, will at last give the fullest possible coverage to the extreme emergency situation in which journalist Julian Assange is unjustly being kept at risk of his life.
For the Free.Assange.Belgium Committee
Marie France Deprez
Monique Brognon +32 496 60 62 62
Marie France Deprez +32 495 93 91 75