WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has been admitted to hospital in a serious condition, according to his lawyer who says Assange’s health has deteriorated rapidly and he is barely able to communicate.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per E Samuelson, visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison last week and says he is very weak and unable to hold a normal conversation.
In a letter to Uppsala District Court, Samuelson said that he met Assange for just under two hours. According to the lawyer, “Assange is in such a bad shape that it is not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”
Assange is said to have been taken to the Belmarsh Prison hospital ward, according to Swedish reports, but there is no more detailed information about his state of health.
Assange’s health deteriorated during his 7 year residency at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was denied medical care while being held in what the UN Human Rights Commission ruled was “arbitrary detention.”
The US Department of Justice announced last week that there are 17 new charges against Assange. According to the DOJ, Assange illegally disclosed names of confidential sources and violated the espionage law.
If found guilty, the WikiLeaks editor could face up to 170 years behind bars.
According to Julian Assange’s lawyer, the charges of espionage are a “threat” to all journalists and the free press.
The new charges come, a month’s time after the Ministry of Justice published a slightly smaller case against Assange.
In that, he is accused by the United States of publishing, through WikiLeaks, large amounts of confidential US documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Assange was arrested on April 11 at Ecuador’s embassy by British police. He had stayed at the embassy for almost seven years.