In London and elsewhere around the world, supporters and family of Julian Assange remember a thousand from his stay at Belmarsh Prison. Assange has been there for nearly three years since he was expelled from the Ecuadorean embassy. “This is taller than people who have been convicted of violent crimes,” Assange’s fiancée, Stella Morris, said.
However, the WikiLeaks founder has not been released because the United States wants to extradite Assange for publishing classified documents and videos, including a deadly bombing in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists.
Assange was serving a previous one-year prison sentence for violating bail. Critics say Britain is holding him illegally for much longer until his extradition can be arranged. Supporters also believe that Assange published the documents in question as a journalist and thus deserves special protection.
The last legal impediment to extradition was removed early last month. When Assange was still under Ecuadorean protection, frustrated US authorities hinted at a kidnapping or attack, plans that were never implemented.
According to Morris, Assange’s children know him only in the context of the maximum security prison Belmarsh, and Assange’s health has deteriorated sharply. Morris says last October he was reported to have had a stress-related stroke. If convicted in the United States, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison. More in DPA
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