By Craig Murray
August 24, 2019
Julian Assang,: WikiLeaks founder
The highly dubious death of Jeffrey Epstein in a US maximum-security prison is another strong reason not to extradite Julian Assange into one – particularly as many of the same people who are relieved by Epstein’s death would like to see Assange dead too.
But there is every reason to fear Assange is already in danger, in Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is currently incarcerated. As the great journalist John Pilger tweeted six days ago:
Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him.
I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated. Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.
There is no official explanation as to why Julian’s health has continued to deteriorate so alarmingly in Belmarsh. Nobody genuinely believes him to be a violent danger, so there is absolutely no call for him to be imprisoned in the facility which houses the hardcore terrorist cases.
Assange is fighting major legal cases in the UK, Sweden and the United States, yet is permitted visitors for only two hours per fortnight, inclusive of time spent with his three sets of lawyers. All of his visitors have been alarmed by his state of physical health and many have been alarmed by his apparent disorientation and confusion.
It is because of Assange’s draconian one year sentence for “bail-jumping” on claiming political asylum that he can be kept in such harsh conditions and with so little access to his lawyers. That is why his sentence was so unprecedentedly stiff for missing police bail. Otherwise, as a remand prisoner awaiting an extradition hearing his conditions would ordinarily be less harsh and his access to lawyers much better. The Establishment has conspired to reduce his ability to defend himself in court. I am not convinced it is not conspiring to destroy him.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
Original Headline: Assange Must Not Also Die in Jail
Source: Daily Times, Pakistan
Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder drops appeal against prison term for breaching bail
By Jon Sharman
T 18 July 2019 17:15
Julian Assange has dropped an appeal against his 50-week prison term for breaching bail by holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Court officials said on Thursday that a hearing on the appeal set for next week had been cancelled.
Assange is jailed in London’s Belmarsh Prison at the same time as he fights extradition to the US on espionage charges.
The Wikileaks founder skipped bail in 2012 when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy rather than turn himself in to British authorities for extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.
He denied the sexual misconduct allegations and said he sought asylum for protection from possible extradition to the US on charges related to his Wikileaks work.
Assange lost his protected asylum status in April and was arrested by the Metropolitan Police.
Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court in May, Judge Deborah Taylor said it was “difficult to envisage a more serious example” of breaching the Bail Act.
Assange wrote to the court to apologise for his actions, which he said he regretted and acknowledged may have placed him in a more serious situation.
Judge Taylor said this was the first time he had expressed contrition over his actions, which she stated cost at least £16m of taxpayers’ money.
She said: “Firstly, by entering the embassy, you deliberately put yourself out of reach, whilst remaining in the UK.
“You remained there for nearly seven years, exploiting your privileged position to flout the law and advertise internationally your disdain for the law of this country.”
She also said his actions “undoubtedly” affected Swedish prosecutors’ efforts, which were discontinued in May 2017 “not least because you remained in the embassy”.
Additional reporting by PA
Source: The Independent, UK