Julian Assange 'deteriorating daily' after being 'left to rot in jail' with no appeal date in sight
EXCLUSIVE: JULIAN Assange (above) has been left to rot in jail, despite never being convicted of any criminal offences, supporters said yesterday. The WikiLeaks founder is physically deteriorating by the day according to his wife and former lawyer Stella Assange (below). Mr Assange lodged an appeal last September after then Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered his extradition to the USA, to face charges against its Official Secrets Act over the release of thousands of confidential US military cables from 2010. However, he remains in Belmarsh and has still yet to be told if he will be allowed to make the appeal, with no date for any hearing set seven months later. Mrs Assange was speaking to journalists at a National Union of Journalists (NUJ) event. She said: "Four years (in prison) is a long time especially when you don't know how long it will go on for. Personally, his physical condition is deteriorating by the day and as one can imagine he has been in a single cell since 11th April 2019 and he is in his cell most of the time. He spends maybe two or three hours outside of that cell. He eats alone in his cell, not of his choosing everyone does that, it is how Belmarsh functions.
"It is easier to manage a prison when prisoners do not interact and their solution to that is just locking them up. "He is one of the most veteran in Belmarsh and has not even been convicted and is in an administrative type of detention." She said he has seen violent offenders sentenced to eight years who are released after four while he remains inside. She added that he was being treated in an inhumane manner which was an "act of vengeance" and an "abuse of process" of the "powers of the state to take revenge" on him. Mrs Assange called on UK journalists to come out in support of her husband because his case had much wider implications. She said: "They should stand by Julian because this case is not just about Julian, the fact this case is underway here affects the scope and political viability of journalism within this jurisdiction. "The Official Secrets Act is really draconian but has not been tested in the court against journalists and publishers conducting their work, but it is being tested in this way through the back door - new rules, new norms are emerging and are being solidified of how the Official Secrets Act plays out in practice. She said there could be implications from the case on journalists active in the UK. She added: "They should be fighting back and they should see this fight Julian is having to conduct in the UK court as their fight too. A foreign nationality is using its secrecy laws extraterritorially and setting a new standard that other countries can also use in the UK or in any other country against British journalists. British journalists would be at risk from extradition and from prison if this standard is allowed to proceed."
Kristinn Hrafnsson, (above) Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, who was formerly an investigative journalist in Iceland, said: "His appeal was submitted in September and we are now entering into May with no signal from the High Court if they will allow his application. "I don't think there is any precedent for such a delay from the High Court and in the meantime Julian is rotting away in prison - they are just delaying it - it is highly politicised." Assange released the cables through WikiLeaks, exposing human rights breaches by the US, after being provided nearly three-quarters of a million classified and unclassified sensitive military and diplomatic documents by military whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Miss Manning, who lived as a man called Bradley Manning until 2010, is a former US Army soldier, who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of offences against the Espionage Act, sentenced to 35 years imprisonment and to be dishonourably discharged from the Army.