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Assange strip searched and moved to a bare cell following extradition announcement

JULIAN ASSANGE was strip searched and moved to a bare cell on the day the Home Secretary green-lit his extradition to the United States, his wife said today.

Stella Assange said the WikiLeaks founder was told he was being moved “for his own protection” and had no visits over the weekend following the announcement last Friday.

“Imagine what it’s like for him to have to process this alone,” said Ms Assange.

John Rees, a leading member of the campaign for Mr Assange to be freed, told the PA news agency: “This is simply extrajudicial punishment.

“It’s unacceptable and it’s surely illegal. But it shows how much pressure the authorities are under to free Assange that they behave this vindictively.

“We need to redouble our efforts to stop the extradition, for Julian Assange’s sake and for the defence of a free press.”

Ms Assange said: “Prison is a constant humiliation but what happened on Friday felt especially cruel.

“After the announcement of [Priti] Patel’s decision, Julian was taken from his cell so that he could be strip searched, and then escorted to a bare cell where he remained for the rest of the weekend.

“His own cell was searched. They were looking for things that could be used to take one’s own life.

“In the bare cell, guards logged his status every hour until he was allowed to return to his cell on Tuesday.”

She said that the mental strain Mr Assange is enormous as it is, having to process “what is essentially a death sentence.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon said the treatment was “cruel, degrading and humiliating” as well as seemingly “designed to break him for his role in exposing US war crimes.”

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