On the 29th February 2020 Elizabeth Farrelly writes
Even in my bleakest moments I’m glad I’m not Julian Assange. Seven years trapped inside the embassy opposite Harrods, with fake news in the air and police in the bushes. (Yes, I was there. I saw them). That alone would send me mad.
Follow that with 10 months’ solitary in what former British diplomat Craig Murray calls Britain’s Lubyanka, the ultra-grim high-security Belmarsh Prison. There, Assange has been subject to such harassment, arbitrariness, strip searches and abuse that both the UN Special Rapporteur and a group of more than 60 British doctors were impelled to protest his “torture” and his fellow inmates petitioned for his release from solitary. And now a bizarre hearing-cum-trial-by-public-opinion ending in possible extradition, a potential 175-year penalty and likely death in a harsh foreign jail. Why? For telling the truth.
. . .
On day two, Assange’s defence, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said the prosecution must prove three things: that Assange had helped Manning decode a hash key necessary to hack classified material, that Assange had solicited the material from Manning and that he had knowingly put lives at risk. There is, said Fitzgerald, no evidence on any of these counts, some of which were disproved in Manning’s court-martial. And the prosecution has admitted it cannot prove harm.
But even that is not the point. No one should be arguing the substantive case here. For now, the questions are; is this a political crime? Should Assange receive a fair trial? Does anyone believe he’ll get one in Trump’s America? And do we really think, given his poor health, he would survive prison there? The answers have to be yes, yes, no and, resoundingly, no.