Virus outbreak at Assange's UK jail block

Alan Jones, PA
·1-min read

Julian Assange says he and other inmates at Belmarsh prison have been placed into lockdown in their cells after being told there has been a COVID-19 outbreak in his block.

The Australian WikiLeaks founder said a number of inmates at the London prison have received a letter from the governor notifying them that there had been a number of positive COVID-19 cases.

All prisoners and staff are to be swabbed to detect for the coronavirus at the prison in the next 24-48 hours, Assange said.

He added that all exercise has been stopped, showers have been prohibited and meals are to be provided direct to prisoners in their cells.

Assange has been held at Belmarsh Prison for the last year and a half and is awaiting the judgment from a US extradition hearing on January 4.

His partner Stella Moris, the mother of their two young children, said: "Keeping Julian in the UK's harshest prison, exposed to a deadly virus and away from his family is not only cruel, it offends British values and democracy itself.

"He is a political prisoner being held on behalf of a foreign nation, whose war crimes he exposed.

"I am extremely worried about Julian. Julian's doctors say that he is vulnerable to the effects of the virus."

A Prison Service spokesman said: "We've introduced further safety measures following a number of positive cases."

It is understood that one wing of the prison is affected.