Julian Assange has had a stroke in prison
Julian Assange, according to his fiance Stella Moris, has had a stroke in prison. The 50-year-old Wikileaks founder is currently in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison on remand, fighting against his extradition to the United States.
Ms Moris, a 38-year-old lawyer said he had suffered a stroke at the time he was making a virtual High Court appearance in October. He has subsequently incurred memory problems, and a drooping eyelid on his right eye. There are also apparent signs of neurological damage.
As he faces a third Christmas behind the bars of the tough prison, Assange has reportedly seen a decline in his health, and the mini-stroke is being blamed on the stress levels brought on by his extradition battle. An MRI scan was carried out, and he is now on anti-stroke medication.
“Julian is struggling, and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on”, said his fiance.
Adding, “It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally”.
Last Friday 10, the High Court overturned a judgment that had been made earlier this year, that prevented Assange’s extradition. This is a massive blow, and a major legal setback, with US officials eager to see him face charges under the US Espionage Act.
After being offered assurances about his potential imprisonment conditions, by the US government, the High Court reveres the original ruling. Assange’s lawyers had previously successfully argued that he might be kept in conditions in a US prison that ran the risk of a possible suicide attempt.
“I believe this constant chess game, battle after battle, the extreme stress, is what caused Julian’s stroke on October 27. He was feeling really unwell, far too ill to follow the hearing, and he was excused by the judge but could not leave the prison video room”, continued Ms Moris.
She pointed out, “It must have been horrendous hearing a High Court appeal in which you can’t participate, which is discussing your mental health and your risk of suicide, and in which the US is arguing you are making it all up”.
Concluding, “He had to sit through all this when he should have been excused. He was in a truly terrible state. His eyes were out of synch, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry”.
Julian Assange now has until December 23 to launch an appeal against last week’s judgment. In the meantime, he could potentially face a much longer time on remand in prison, as reported by dailymail.co.uk.