WikiLeaks has grave concerns about the state of health of our publisher, Julian Assange, who has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. Mr Assange´s health had already significantly deteriorated after seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy, under conditions that were incompatible with basic human rights. The United Nations twice found him to have been arbitrarily detained and called on the United Kingdom to honor its commitments under international law and free him. The UK’s refusal to abide by UN rulings, and its subsequent treatment of Mr. Assange since his arrest, presents serious questions about the UK's standing as a human rights-abiding nation.
In his last year in the embassy, as the US finalized its extraditions plans, Julian Assange was, at the bequest of US authourities, totally isolated and gagged - a situation designed to make his life as hard as possible.
During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight. The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.
We strongly condemn the refusal by the Swedish court to postpone a hearing on 3rd June on the basis of Mr Assange's health condition. Defense lawyer for Assange, Per Samuelson said that Julian Assange's health state last Friday was such “that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him”.
Tomorrow, May 30, there is a formal hearing in Westminster Court on the Extradition request by the Trump administration. The initial U.S. warrant has been expanded to include a life sentence or potential death penalty under the Espionage Act, announced last week in the the superseding indictment which disclosed 17 additional charges, bringing the potential sentence to 175 years in prison. The indictments have been widely condemned by free press organizations as the most serious attack against publishing activities in modern times -- the Trump administration in essence criminalizes the very act of journalism. The indictment utilises the archaic Espionage Act of 1917 to indict a publisher for the first time in history--in an unprecedented escalation of the Trump administration's war on the free press.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief:
“Julian's case is of major historic significance. It will be remembered as the worst attack on press freedom in our lifetime. The People need to voice their condemnation; it is their politicians, their courts, their police and their prisons that are being abused in order to leave this black stain on history. Please act now to avert this shame”.