07:26 GMT27 October 2020
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    Australian citizen and journalist Julian Assange is currently detained in high security prison as he awaits a case from the US government to extradite him for the release of sensitive material. He spent the last 7-years unable to leave the Ecuadorian embassy until his diplomatic asylum was lifted by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in 2019.

    The current editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Kristin Hrafnsson urged Australian politicians on Monday to put pressure in favour of the organisations founder Julian Assange, who remains detained in Belmarsh prison.

    "The trial is at the end of February, there is no time", Mr Hrafnsson said.
    "I really would like to see some more push from this side, to see politicians here see the gravity of the situation", he added.

    Mr Hrafnsson, who is currently in Australia advocating for Julian's support, slammed the Australian government for inadequate consular assistance, calling it "tokenistic" and accusing the the state of attempting to minimise their PR humiliation” in place of providing sufficient aid.

    He also commented on Assange's prison conditions are so regimented that other prisoners are removed from the corridors when he leaves his cell to meet with lawyers.

    According to Hrafnsson, he is also being denied therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, which he developed due to a lack of physical exercise, sunlight, or medical care during his nearly 7-year tenure stuck inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

    This news has been corroborated by a letter sent to UK authorities, signed by 60 doctors across the world that Mr Assange's health conditions were so poor that he could die in Prison. 

    Mr Assange is currently held in maximum security Belmarsh Prison in London as he awaits extradition on charges by the United States under the Espionage Act.

    Mr Hrafnsson said that Mr Assange’s lawyers would put forward the case for espionage being a political act and that extradition would not be legal under existing agreements between the United Kingdom and the US.

    He claimed that if the extradition were to take place, no journalist would be safe in conducting their work on the basis that political activity could now warrant such a response.

    In November, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a letter to Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, who called on the government to assist the Wikileaks founder:

    “Beyond providing consular assistance, it is important to note that Australia has no standing and is unable to intervene in Mr Assange’s legal proceedings", he said.
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen as he leaves a police station in London, Britain April 11, 2019
    © REUTERS / Peter Nicholls
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen as he leaves a police station in London, Britain April 11, 2019

    The Assange Case

    Assange has been accused by successive US administrations of publishing secret military, government and diplomatic documents. In 2010, he brought to light footage showing gunsight footage of 2007 Baghdad airstrike from an Apache helicopter, which killed 2 Reuters war correspondents.

    The Wikileaks founder has previously expressed concern that if he were to be extradited to the US he could face the death penalty, which would forbid the UK government from removing him from their territory under European Human Rights law.

    UK officials have said they are "satisfied" with pledged made by the US that he will not be executed or tortured but what Julian's eventual punishment would be if he were to find himself before a US prosecutor remains unspecified.

    Supporters of Assange say that he was doing his job as a journalist and was not responsible for any breach of security. Media outlets in both the UK and US have also defending Assange and criticised his detaining as an attack on freedom of speech.

    The Trump administration however claims that Mr Assange is not a journalist and that the publishing of sensitive documents and material does not meet journalist standards.


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    Extradition, Journalism, Julian Assange, Freedom of Speech, Wikileaks
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