Pamela Anderson visits WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in prison, wrapped in grey ‘free speech’ blanket

Former Baywatch star is Assange’s first visitor since he was taken to Belmarsh prison 

Alan Jones
Wednesday 08 May 2019 09:40
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Pamela Anderson: Julian Assange prison visit 'very difficult'

Pamela Anderson has visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in prison, wrapped in a grey blanket emblazoned with words including “free speech”.

The former Baywatch star is Assange’s first visitor since he was sent to Belmarsh prison in southeast London, other than one of his lawyers. She was accompanied by WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Speaking to reporters after the visit, Ms Anderson said it was “very difficult” to see Assange in prison.

“He does not deserve to be in a supermax prison. He has never committed a violent act. He is an innocent person,” she said.

She said that Assange has no access to information, is “really cut off from everybody” and has not been able to speak to his children.

Anderson says Assange ‘does not deserve to be in a supermax prison’

“He is a good man, he is an incredible person. I love him, I can’t imagine what he has been going through,” Ms Anderson added.

“It was great to see him, but this is just misrule of law in operation. It is an absolute shock that he has not been able to get out of his cell.”

“It is going to be a long fight and he deserves our support. He needs our support, so whatever anyone can do – maybe write to him, encourage him.”

“We just have to keep fighting, because it is unfair. He has sacrificed so much to bring the truth out and we deserve the truth.”

Ms Anderson met Assange on several occasions when he lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange was dragged out of the embassy last month and has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation.

He is fighting extradition to the US where he is wanted for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Mr Hrafnsson said Assange is in “general” solitary confinement because he mostly spends 23 hours a day in his cell, adding that the situation was “unacceptable”.

Speaking after a court hearing last week, he said: “We are worried about Julian Assange. We are hearing that the situation in Belmarsh prison is appalling because of austerity and cutbacks.

“For the last weeks since he was arrested, he has spent 23 out of 24 hours a day in his cell most of the time.

“That is what we call in general terms solitary confinement. That’s unacceptable.

“That applies to most of the prisoners in that appalling facility. It is unacceptable that a publisher is spending time in that prison.”

UN rights experts have voiced concern about the “disproportionate” sentence given to the WikiLeaks founder as well as his detention in a high-security prison.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in a statement last week it was “deeply concerned” about the sentence imposed on Assange.

“The Working Group is of the view that violating bail is a minor violation that, in the United Kingdom, carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.

“It is worth recalling that the detention and the subsequent bail of Mr Assange in the UK were connected to preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden.

“It is equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges against Mr Assange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case.

“The working group is further concerned that Mr Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence.

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“This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.”

The working group has previously stated that Assange was arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy and should have had his liberty restored.

PA

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