Assange’s lawyer urges his release from prison over COVID-19 fears

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has issued an appeal for him to be released from a British prison.

Stella Morris said there were now genuine fears for the health of the WikiLeaks founder due to the coronavirus and his isolation in prison, Britain’s Press Association news agency reported late Saturday.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in London since he left the Ecuadorian embassy a year ago.

He is waiting for an extradition hearing on May 18 on behalf of the U.S., where he is wanted for questioning over WikiLeaks’ activities.

Assange’s lawyers argue that the 48-year-old is at risk of coronavirus infection because it is “endemic” in prisons, and he is more vulnerable because of physical and mental health issues.

Morris said she feared Assange could die: “He is in isolation for 23 hours a day and all visits have stopped.”

Last month, a British court rejected a bail request, ruling that Assange was likely to skip US extradition proceedings if freed.

PA revealed an unexpected personal connection: Citing court documents, the agency reported that Morris said she and Assange have been in a relationship since 2015 and have two children, Gabriel (3) and Max (1).

Morris says she met Assange in 2011 when she was a legal researcher and he was living at the Ecuadorian embassy, and the two developed a strong bond.

Assange spent seven years at the Ecuadorian mission. Police arrested him in April 2019 for failing to surrender to an earlier warrant issued in relation to a Swedish extradition request in a case involving charges of sexual assault which were later dropped. (NAN)

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