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02:31

UK: Assange 'has become a political prisoner in this country' - Australian MP

United Kingdom, London
February 18, 2020 at 20:05 GMT +00:00 · Published

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie said Julian Assange "has become a political prisoner" in the UK, after visiting the Wikileaks founder in Belmarsh prison in South London on Tuesday.

"I have no reason to doubt the assessment of the United Nations rapporteur on torture, Niels Melzer, when he said that Julian exhibits the signs of someone who has undergone psychological torture," he said. "He's supposedly not in solitary confinement these days but he tells me that he's still spending more than 20 hours a day confined to his room. I think for all intents and purposes a reasonable person would say that is still solitary confinement."

Speaking outside the prison, Wilkie lambasted the UK for its willingness to participate in the US' attempt to extradite him.

"This is madness that the UK is even entertaining having a court case. The UK should be saying, and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be saying to the US president, back off," he said.

Assange extradition hearing to the US is scheduled to begin next week in Woolwich Crown Court. The hearing could see him transferred to the United States where he would face an 18-count indictment for his part in publishing classified information on US military activity during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

02:31
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Australian MP Andrew Wilkie said Julian Assange "has become a political prisoner" in the UK, after visiting the Wikileaks founder in Belmarsh prison in South London on Tuesday.

"I have no reason to doubt the assessment of the United Nations rapporteur on torture, Niels Melzer, when he said that Julian exhibits the signs of someone who has undergone psychological torture," he said. "He's supposedly not in solitary confinement these days but he tells me that he's still spending more than 20 hours a day confined to his room. I think for all intents and purposes a reasonable person would say that is still solitary confinement."

Speaking outside the prison, Wilkie lambasted the UK for its willingness to participate in the US' attempt to extradite him.

"This is madness that the UK is even entertaining having a court case. The UK should be saying, and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be saying to the US president, back off," he said.

Assange extradition hearing to the US is scheduled to begin next week in Woolwich Crown Court. The hearing could see him transferred to the United States where he would face an 18-count indictment for his part in publishing classified information on US military activity during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

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