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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
PA Julian Assange’s wife said he was strip searched on the day he was told he faces extradition to the US
Julian Assange

Assange ‘strip searched and moved cell’ on day of extradition announcement

The wife of the Wikileaks founder has said his treatment was ‘especially cruel’.

JULIAN ASSANGE WAS strip searched and moved to a bare cell on the day the UK’s Home Secretary announced she was allowing his extradition to the US, his wife has said.

Stella Assange said the WikiLeaks founder was told he was being moved to a bare cell “for his own protection”.

He had no visits over the weekend following the announcement last Friday.

“Imagine what it’s like for him to have to process this alone,” said Mrs Assange.

The British government last week approved Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States to face trial over the publication of secret files relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

John Rees, a leading member of the campaign for Mr Assange to be freed, told the PA news agency: “This is simply extrajudicial punishment.

“It’s unacceptable and it’s surely illegal. But it shows how much pressure the authorities are under to free Assange that they behave this vindictively.

embedded267467256 PA Stella Assange said her husband was told he was being moved to a bare cell ‘for his own protection’ PA

“We need to redouble our efforts to stop the extradition, for Julian Assange’s sake and for the defence of a free press.”

Supporters including journalist John Pilger also criticised the treatment of Mr Assange on the day Home Secretary Priti Patel made her announcement.

Mrs Assange told the PA news agency: “Prison is a constant humiliation but what happened on Friday felt especially cruel.

“After the announcement of Patel’s decision, Julian was taken from his cell so that he could be strip searched, and then escorted to a bare cell where he remained for the rest of the weekend.

“His own cell was searched. They were looking for things that could be used to take one’s own life.

“In the bare cell, guards logged his status every hour until he was allowed to return to his cell on Tuesday.

“This kind of thing never becomes more tolerable. Any person would find it degrading. The mental strain on Julian is enormous as it is, having to process what is essentially a death sentence.

“The fact he is imprisoned while this outrageous extradition proceeds is a grave injustice in itself. He needs to deal with all that, while preparing for a complex appeal to the High Court.”

Assange’s supporters have held frequent rallies to protest the planned deportation.

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