Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has had his application for bail denied and has been sent back to HMP Belmarsh in London. His application was rejected by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser at a hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court on 25 March. His lawyers argued that the application for bail was to avoid contracting coronavirus, which is beginning to sweep through prisons. The high security prison is no longer accepting visitors and more than 100 of its staff are self-isolating.
Citizens, journalists, artists, human rights organisations and journalists’ unions gathered on January 29th in Brussels to call on the Belgian government to do its utmost to protect Julian Assange and impede his extradition to the United States.
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined the two Belgian civil society organisations, Carta Academica and Belgium4Assange, in two public actions organised in Brussels to defend freedom of expression, freedom of the press and our right to know in general, and Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Sarah Harrison and Edward Snowden in particular.
The following statement was published on the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) web site on 2 January 2020.
“Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, is currently detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom. He faces extradition to the United States and criminal prosecution under the US Espionage Act. He has been charged for publishing the Afghanistan and Iraq war diaries and US embassy cables, important documents that many journalists around the world used and helped to publicise. The “War Diaries” provided evidence that the US Government misled the public about activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and committed war crimes.