The WikiLeaks Official Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign in the UK launched a letter writing campaign urging people to write to their MPs requesting Julian Assange is released in Bail due to the Corona Virus. If you haven’t yet sent a letter please visit the campaigns site https://dontextraditeassange.com/mp/ and use their form to identify your MP and send the Campaign’s drafted e-mil or send your own. Here are two more replies to constituents.
Reply to Constituent from office of Sir David Amess Member of Parliament for Southend West
Thank you for your email regarding Julian Assange.
Mr Assange is currently being held by the British authorities pending his possible extradition to the US. Although he is no risk to the general public, he is not being considered for bail as he is deemed to be a flight risk. At his last hearing, in September, after he breached bail conditions in April, the judge said: “In my view I have substantial grounds for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”
Prisoners are currently being held in separate cells to avoid the spread of the coronavisus and physical visits have been temporarily suspended. However, inmates are allowed videoconferencing facilities to contact family and legal counsel.
As Mr Assange’s status is now that of a person facing extradition rather than a serving prisoner he will not be considered for early release.
Reply to Constituent from the office of Laurence Robertson Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this issue.
As this is a legal matter, I am unable to comment on this case individually. However, I am able to provide some more general information about the situation in prisons as a whole.
COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges that the government must address in order to maintain the provision of services in custody. The safety and wellbeing of staff, prisoners and visitors is paramount. Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPPS) are working very closely with Public Health England (PHE) to ensure the governments approach is based on the best scientific advice available.
The Ministry of Justice have existing, well-developed policies and procedures in place to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases. This means prisons are well prepared to take immediate action whenever cases or suspected cases are identified. In line with broader clinical advice, HMPPS has introduced a procedure for the protective isolation of individuals in prison custody when it is considered that they may be potentially infected with the virus.
Following Government advice, as of 24 March all non-essential activities in prisons involving groups of people was stopped. This includes social visits, education, non-essential work, association, communal dining, periods of mass prisoner movement, religious services and access to the gymnasium. Guidance on these temporary measures has been issued to both staff and prisoners. The government are closely monitoring the number of individuals within the imprisoned community who have tested positive for COVID-19.These measures are vital for keeping prisoners and staff safe and preventing the spread of the virus.
Full advice for prisons regarding Covid-19 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-prisons-and-other-prescribed-places-of-detention-guidance/covid-19-prisons-and-other-prescribed-places-of-detention-guidance
I hope this has helped clarify the situation. If there is anything else that we can help you with please get back in touch and a member of the team would be happy to assist you
Please continue to write to your Members of Parliament educating their offices on the perils to Julian Assange’s health and your concerns. At each and every chapter our elected representatives need to be aware that Julian Assange has supporters among their voters. Unless we lobby for support, it will not be forthcoming by the representatives of the state. Read below an excerpt from Stefania Maurizi’s latest article and let her words sink in:
The fact that even in these precarious conditions the British authorities refuse to release Julian Assange from Belmarsh comes as no surprise to those who have investigated his case in the last decade. Documents we have obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the historic lack of interest by the UK authorities in how confinement inside the Ecuadorian embassy was impacting Assange’s health. In one of the internal emails dated November 2012 and written by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – the UK authority currently in charge of handling the US extradition request – the CPS wrote: “I heard the BBC World service radio report early this morning about his health […] There is no question of him being allowed out of the Ecuadorian embassy, treated and then allowed to go back. He would be arrested as soon as was appropriate […] As for the weight lost, there are many people of my acquaintance [obviously just women] who would always welcome this”.