It extremely important WikiLeaks supporters continue writing to Rob Davis, Governor of HMP Belmarsh raising concerns about the welfare of Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks. Here is the letter a supporter emailed to him on 25/11/20. I will update this post once there is a reply.
Dear Mr. Rob Davis,
Mr. Julian Assange. Prisoner #: A9379AY. Date of Birth 03/07/1971
I am shocked to read that all 56 virus-infected prisoners at Belmarsh have been moved to the same wing as Mr. Assange, who so far by miracle is not infected. This seems utter madness to me and suggests you may want him also to become infected. Everyone knows Mr. Assange has damaged lungs (see UN report by Nils Melzer) and will almost certainly die if he catches this virus, yet instead of taking measures to protect him it appears you are deliberately placing him at greater risk of catching the virus. If he dies I believe your lack of appropriate actions will make you legally responsible for his death.
I am aware that other supporters of Mr. Assange have written to Lord Buckland, Minister of Justice to alert him to this pandemic and his responsibilities and obligations to prisoners at risk. I am certain that moving all infected prisoners into the same wing as Mr. Assange, whose health is already weakened due to breathing problems and 19 months of solitary confinement in Belmarsh prison, is unacceptable and potentially a Crime against Humanity. There are alternative measures which can and should be taken immediately to protect the lives of Mr. Assange and other prisoners.
By the Human Rights Act 1998, European Convention Human Rights (“ECHR”) are incorporated into UK law. Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) makes it unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a person’s ECHR rights. Article 2 of the ECHR, in particular, enjoins the State not only to refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life but also to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction. The European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) has found the positive obligation under Article 2 to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction to apply in the context of any activity, whether public or not, in which the right to life may be at stake; for example, in the context of medical care and assistance given to vulnerable persons institutionalised in State facilities.
Recently, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CPT”) published a statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is public knowledge that those principles have been disregarded in the case of vulnerable detainees, such as Mr Assange, notably the following principles:
“5) …authorities should make greater use of alternatives to pre-trial detention…
6) …special attention will be required to the specific needs of detained persons with particular regard to vulnerable groups and/or at-risk groups…
9) Fundamental safeguards against the ill-treatment of persons in the custody of law enforcement officials (access to a lawyer, access to a doctor) must be fully respected in all circumstances and at all times…”
I plead to you to take immediate action to protect Mr. Assange from the avoidable risk to his life. As a non-violent remand prisoner I ask you move him immediately to a lower category prison or release him on bail. What we are witnessing in your prison is both cruel and unnecessary. He is a non-violent person who could and should be released immediately.
As one of many supporters of Julian Assange we are watching your actions and so look forward to receiving an update on urgent corrective measures being taken.