Julian Assange suffers stroke in Belmarsh prison, fiancée says

12 December 2021, 11:16 | Updated: 12 December 2021, 12:27

Assange's partner Stella Moris after the court ruling this week
Assange's partner Stella Moris after the court ruling this week. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Julian Assange has suffered a stroke in Belmarsh Prison, his fiancée Stella Moris said last night.

She posted online that the Wikileaks founder "suffered a stroke on the first day of the High Court appeal hearing on October 27th."

Assange, 50, is being held on remand in the maximum-security jail while fighting extradition to America.

It is understood he was left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage.

On Friday, the US Government won its bid to overturn a judge's decision not to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

Read more: High Court reverses decision not to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to US

He is wanted in America over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks's publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The US government won the latest round in the court battle after giving assurances Assange would not be held in a so-called supermax prison.

Ms Moris said on Friday that his lawyers intend to take his case to the Supreme Court, the UK's highest court.

Justices will, however, have to decide first whether to hear the case before any appeal is heard.

Human rights and press freedom groups condemned the High Court ruling as a "travesty of justice" and "hammer-blow to free expression".

Responding to the decision on Friday, Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said: "We condemn today's decision, which will prove historic for all the wrong reasons.

"We fully believe that Julian Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, and we defend this case because of its dangerous implications for the future of journalism and press freedom around the world.

"It is time to put a stop to this more than decade-long persecution once and for all. It is time to free Assange."

Nils Muiznieks, Amnesty International's Europe director, said: "This is a travesty of justice.

"By allowing this appeal, the High Court has chosen to accept the deeply flawed diplomatic assurances given by the US that Assange would not be held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.