Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is moved out of solitary confinement into Belmarsh prison medical wing with other inmates as he faces fight against extradition to US on hacking charges
- Joseph Farrell, of WikiLeaks, revealed the news of Julian Assange’s move today
- Assange, 48, has been held at the high-security prison in London since last April
- He is awaiting an extradition hearing on behalf of the US over WikiLeaks’ actions
Julian Assange has been moved out of solitary confinement in a prison medical wing to an area with other inmates, according to WikiLeaks.
The move was described by his supporters as a ‘dramatic climbdown’, affecting his treatment at Belmarsh jail in south-east London.
Assange, 48, has been held at the high-security prison since last April, when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been living for almost seven years.
He is awaiting an extradition hearing on behalf of the United States over the activities of WikiLeaks.
Assange, 48, has been held at the high-security prison since last April, when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been living for almost seven years (pictured, leaving Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this month)
Joseph Farrell, of WikiLeaks, said on Friday: ‘In a dramatic climbdown, authorities at Belmarsh prison have moved Julian Assange from solitary confinement in the medical wing and relocated him to area with other inmates.
‘The move is a huge victory for Assange’s legal team and for campaigners, who have been insisting for weeks that the prison authorities end the punitive treatment of Assange.’
In a recent interview with far-Right activist Tommy Robinson however, Ross Kemp pointed out the solitary confinement – designed to keep prisoners separate for their own safety – was not entirely bad.
Cameras showed how Robinson had a stash of food to keep him going, including Jaffa cakes, apple juice, chocolate eclairs, tuna chunks, Coco Pops and Ready Brek.
Mr Farrell said the decision to move Assange out of solitary confinement was also a ‘massive victory’ for inmates in Belmarsh.
Joseph Farrell, of WikiLeaks, said the decision to move Assange out of solitary confinement was a ‘massive victory’ for inmates in Belmarsh (pictured, the inside of HMP Belmarsh)
Tommy Robinson had a stash of food to keep him going while in solitary confinement, including Jaffa cakes, apple juice, chocolate eclairs, tuna chunks, Coco Pops and Ready Brek
He added: ‘A group of prisoners have petitioned the prison governor on three occasions insisting that the treatment of Assange was unjust and unfair.
‘After meetings between prisoners, lawyers and the Belmarsh authorities, Assange was moved to a different prison wing, albeit one with only 40 inmates.’
He added that serious concerns about Assange’s treatment in Belmarsh remained, saying he is still being denied adequate access to his lawyers.
‘Campaigners continue to insist that Assange should not be in jail at all, least of all in Belmarsh high-security prison,’ said Mr Farrell.
‘But, all that notwithstanding, this is an important victory for campaigners outside and inside the prison walls.’
A timetable for Assange’s extradition hearing was agreed at Westminster Magistrates’ court on Thursday.
The case will open at Woolwich Crown Court on February 24, but will adjourn after one week, and continue with a three-week hearing scheduled to begin on May 18.
Speaking at Thursday’s hearing, Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, said: ‘We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.
‘We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.’
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