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  • Julian Assange's father John Shipton speaks to members of the media during a news conference in London, on Feb. 18, 2020.

    Julian Assange's father John Shipton speaks to members of the media during a news conference in London, on Feb. 18, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 February 2020
Opinion

The Wikileaks founder was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates.

Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is no longer being kept in solitary confinement and his health is improving, his spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters Tuesday.

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Assange, 48, is in Belmarsh high-security prison in London, fighting an extradition request from the United States where he faces 18 counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.

There has been serious concern about the state of Assange's health since he appeared confused during a court hearing in October, struggling to recall his age and name and saying he was unable to think properly.

The Wikileaks founder was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates after his legal team and prisoners complained that his treatment was unfair.

“I saw him about 10 days ago - he has improved thanks to the pressure from his legal team, the general public, and amazingly, actually from other inmates in Belmarsh Prison to get him out of isolation,” Hrafnsson said ahead of an extradition hearing that starts next week.

Earlier, a group of doctors representing 117 physicians and psychologists from 18 nations called in a letter for an end to what they described as “the psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.”

His father, John Shipton, said Assange’s long confinement indoors had damaged his health and feared that sending his son to the U.S. would be akin to a “death sentence.”

“His situation is dire, he has had nine years of ceaseless psychological torture where false accusations are constantly being made,” he told reporters.

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