The UK (and US) legal authorities are now presented with a very convenient way of permanently ridding the world of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Meanwhile his partner and mother of their two children has issued a video in which she says how she believes his life may indeed be coming to an end.
Judge refuses anonymity request
Authorities are seeking the extradition of Assange to the US on charges, all of which can be disputed, relating to espionage and computer crime.
At a pre-extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, a request was made that Assange be released on bail from Belmarsh prison. This was because he could contract the coronavirus (Covid-19). The request was refused by the magistrate, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser.
At a follow-up hearing a request was made to preserve anonymity for Assange’s partner, given it’s known that US authorities had sought discarded nappies of Assange’s children. The nappies were retrieved from the embassy by security firm Undercover Global, which conducted comprehensive surveillance operations at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It’s reported that the US authorities intended to take DNA samples. But Baraitser refused that request too.
Consequently Assange’s partner was given no choice but to go public and in a video Stella Morris describes how they first met at the Frontline Club in London and some years later formed a relationship. She explains that two children were conceived while Assange was in the embassy. Near the end of the video a tearful Morris expresses her fear for her partner’s safety, saying “I feel like Julian’s life might be coming to an end”:
Underlying health conditions
Under any normal circumstances Assange would be designated as being at high risk from coronavirus, given he has a known chronic lung condition. The advice given by the British Lung Foundation to sufferers of that condition in relation to the virus is “to take social shielding measures for 12 weeks”.
But Assange recently told Vaughan Smith, who stood bail for the WikiLeaks founder, that “he spends 30 minutes a day in a crowded prison yard”. Hardly social shielding.
Smith ominously added:
We know of two 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.
Meanwhile journalist Matt Kennard discovered that Belmarsh prison has a long record of failings when it comes to infection control.
“Who will rid us of this turbulent” journalist?
As The Canary has previously reported, over 200 medical doctors from the UK, the US, Australia and elsewhere have appealed to Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne to intervene on behalf of Assange:
We therefore stand by our previous calls for the Australian Government to urgently intervene to protect the life, health and human rights of its citizen Julian Assange, before it is too late, whether due to coronavirus or any number of catastrophic health outcomes
Should Assange contract the virus and lack of care leads to loss of life, that might well be a relief to the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. But given Assange’s medical condition and the recorded infection problems in Belmarsh, should there be such a tragedy then those same authorities would be guilty of failing not only a duty of care, but far worse.
Avoiding such a tragedy is simple: Assange must be freed, says fellow Australian journalist John Pilger. And now we know that as well as family members in Australia, Assange also has a loving partner and children in Britain, waiting for him to join them.
Featured image via YouTube – 60 Minutes Australia
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