COVID-19 Outbreak Hits Prison Where Julian Assange is Held

A COVID-19 outbreak has struck the prison where journalist, Julian Assange, is being held. It could re-raise concerns about health.

He is one of the most important journalists in recent memory. Once again, though, there are concerns about his health and safety. Last September, Assange’s legal defense team raised the alarm after a member of the American prosecuting team became exposed to COVID-19. The hearing took place in response of American attempting to extradite him for what amounts to the crime of journalism and holding government to account.

Last month, the hastily pushed through hearing concluded with a judge expected to hand down a decision next year. While so much of the hearing is controversial from the civil rights organizations being barred from the hearings to the lack of time defense was given to put together a legal case.

Now, one could be forgiven for thinking that the news about Assange would end after the hearings concluded. That appears to not be the case. According to reports surfacing recently, an outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the jail where Assange is being held. From The Guardian:

The prison block in which Julian Assange is being detained under extradition proceedings has been locked down following an outbreak of coronavirus.

Three prisoners are understood to have tested positive for Covid-19 in House Block 1 at Belmarsh prison in south-east London, prompting prison and public health officials to place the building under increased restrictions.

Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, the mother of their two children, said: “I am extremely worried about Julian. Julian’s doctors say that he is vulnerable to the effects of the virus. But it’s not just Covid.

“Every day that passes is a serious risk to Julian. Belmarsh is an extremely dangerous environment where murders and suicides are commonplace. Julian is one of the most widely recognised press freedom and government accountability advocates alive. UK decision-makers must change course before they cause Julian to lose his life.”

This is far from the first time that there were health concerns for the Wikileaks co-founder. Last December, 60 medical doctors assessed Assange’s health and concluded that there was a risk that he could die in prison. At the time, Assange’s health was deteriorating. At the time, Reporters Without Borders was demanding the release of Assange. The calls for Assange’s release were echoed by the United Nations as well.

With compromised health and conditions that make him susceptible to COVID-19, it is understandable that this latest outbreak is of concern. This over top of the many concerns about human rights violations flagged by so many throughout the years.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation for any developments.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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