Assange moved to segregation unit in jail

WikiLeaks founder denied laptop, internet in London prison

A woman holds up a banner supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as thousands of Australians rally around the country in protest in Melbourne on Friday. AFP

“The prison authorities are doing it for his own safety, presumably,” lawyer Jennifer Robinson said.

She said the 39-year-old Australian was moved to the segregation unit of Wandsworth prison in southwest London on Thursday, two days after he was taken to the jail.

The lawyer complained that Assange “does not get any recreation, he has difficulties getting phone calls out, he is on his own.”

Assange, a former computer hacker who has coordinated WikiLeaks’ release of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables, is not allowed to have a laptop in the prison, but his lawyers have requested one.

Assange asked for one of his legal team to be allowed to bring him a laptop, but was refused—prisoners are not commonly allowed their own computers.

His solicitor Mark Stephens said: “He doesn’t have access to a computer, even without an internet connection, or to writing material. He’s got some files but doesn’t have any paper to write on and put them in.”

Robinson said Assange was in “very good” spirits but he was “frustrated” that he could not answer the allegations that WikiLeaks was behind cyber attacks launched on credit card firms which have refused to do business with the website.

“He told me he is absolutely not involved and this is a deliberate attempt to conflate WikiLeaks, which is a publishing organisation, with hacking organisations which are not.”

Assange was refused bail by a judge in London on Tuesday after being arrested on a warrant issued by Sweden, where prosecutors want to speak to him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women. He is due to appear in a London court again next Tuesday, when his case will be argued by Geoffrey Robertson, a high-profile British-Australian human rights lawyer.

Supporters

In a letter to the Guardian appearing on Saturday, prominent supporters, including John Pilger, Terry Jones, Miriam Margolyes and AL Kennedy, call for Assange’s immediate release.

They wrote: “We protest at the attacks on WikiLeaks and, in particular, on Julian Assange,” they write, adding that the leaks have “assisted democracy in revealing the real views of our governments over a range of issues”.

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