Julian Assange in lockdown after Covid-19 outbreak at Belmarsh prison

Julian Assange is put in lockdown after a coronavirus outbreak in his block at Belmarsh prison

  • WikiLeaks founder said governor notified inmates of a ‘number of positive cases’
  • Assange is in Belmarsh prison awaiting judgment from a US extradition hearing
  • The 49-year-old said showers are prohibited and meals are taken directly to cells
  • Partner Stella Moris has said she is ‘extremely worried’ about ‘vulnerable’ Julian 

Julian Assange says he and other inmates at Belmarsh prison have been placed into lockdown in their cells after a Covid-19 outbreak in his block.

The WikiLeaks founder said a number of inmates at the London prison have received a letter from the governor notifying them that there had been a number of positive Covid-19 cases.

All prisoners and staff are to be swabbed to detect for Covid-19 at the prison in the next 24-48 hours, said Assange.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said Belmarsh Prison is on lockdown due to an outbreak of coronavirus and exercise and showers are now prohibited as part of prison safety measures

It is understood that a coronavirus outbreak has occurred in one block of Belmarsh prison (pictured) where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held for the last year and a half

He added that all exercise has been stopped, showers have been prohibited and meals are to be provided direct to prisoners in their cells.

Assange has been held at Belmarsh Prison for the last year and a half and is awaiting the judgment from a US extradition hearing.

The 49-year-old faces 18 charges including a plot to hack computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

He is said to have plotted with defence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack an encrypted password on US Department of Defence computers.

He faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted of espionage offences in the US. 

Australian-born Assange has been fighting extradition since April 2019, he was when he was carried out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Ecuador revoked his asylum status.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has reserved judgement after hearing dozens of witnesses called by Assange’s legal team in a bid to persuade her to block his extradition.

The judgement is expected on January 4 next year.

Stella Moris, the partner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, says she is ‘extremely worried’ about him in prison because his doctors have said he is ‘vulnerable’ to the effects of Covid-19

His partner Stella Moris, the mother of their two young children, said: ‘Keeping Julian in the UK’s harshest prison, exposed to a deadly virus and away from his family is not only cruel, it offends British values and democracy itself.

‘He is a political prisoner being held on behalf of a foreign nation, whose war crimes he exposed.

‘I am extremely worried about Julian. Julian’s doctors say that he is vulnerable to the effects of the virus.’

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘We’ve introduced further safety measures following a number of positive cases.’

It is understood that one wing of the prison is affected.

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