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Assange to apply for bail over fears of a coronavirus outbreak at HMP Belmarsh

Lawyers for the Wikileaks founder, who suffers from a chronic lung disease, say his health is in imminent danger

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange will apply for bail today over fears of a coronavirus outbreak at HMP Belmarsh.

Mr Assange is being held at the high-security prison on an extradition warrant for exposing US war crimes and embarrassing information on the West’s so-called war on terror. 

His lawyers announced on Monday that they will tell Westminster Magistrates Court that Mr Assange and other prisoners are in imminent danger from coronavirus spreading through the prison population.

Mr Assange has a chronic lung disease and requires constant medical check-ups. His mother, Christine, urged MPs to save her son’s life on Twitter this week.

The World Health Organisation has warned that prisoners and guards are “likely to be more vulnerable to the Covid-19 disease than the general population.”

Labour’s Richard Burgon wrote to Tory Justice Secretary Robert Buckland on Saturday demanding urgent answers to reports that as many as 800 people may die in Britain’s prisons. 

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, who visited Mr Assange in prison last May, warned that the Australian showed “all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.”

Seasoned investigative journalist John Pilger said that it is a race against time to save Mr Assange’s life. 

“The US, Spain, Iran have released non-violent prisoners, but not Boris Johnson,” Mr Pilger wrote on Twitter yesterday. “Demand freedom for Julian, convicted of nothing.”

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