17. 03. 2020
Julian Assange must be released before the coronavirus spreads through the prison population, the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign said today.
Prison authorities are signalling that prison inmates will be especially vulnerable to the virus. There are already 113 prison staff and 75 prisoners in isolation because they have coronavirus symptoms.
The President of the Prison Governors Association, Andrea Albutt, has said that prison conditions are a fertile breeding ground for Covid 19. She added, ‘there will be deaths’.
Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, has called for her son’s release to remove the threat of infection in prison.
Assange has not been convicted of any crime, and is a low risk prisoner who should not be held in jail in any case. The increased health risk means he should be released immediately.
Indeed, all low risk prisoners should be released to slow the spread of the virus and minimise the number of fatalities.
The Prison Officers Association say that ‘in the past, governments have done what is called an executive release. This involves low category prisoners who maybe coming to the end of their sentences being released to free up prisons’.
WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell said, ‘With the authorities about to end social visits it’s essential that Julian Assange be included in any release policy. His health is already in jeopardy and further isolation would be damaging in itself, let alone the threat that he might contract the virus itself.’
Prisons in the United States are already releasing inmates to slow the spread of the virus.
Julian Assange is facing 175 years in jail if he is extradited to the US for releasing the Afghan and Iraq war logs which revealed the truth about the Afghan and Iraq wars.