Julian Assange has given a glimpse of life inside Belmarsh Prison via a handwritten letter in which he claims to have no internet access and be surrounded by “murderers”.
The Wikileaks founder is being held in the hospital ward of the high-security prison — dubbed “Britain’s Guantanamo” — while he awaits a decision on whether he will be extradited to the US.
Supporter Gordon Dimmack said he wrote to Assange around three weeks ago and “to my surprise” received a reply, in which the 47-year-old complains of having no laptop and having to “compete” with other prisoners to use the phone.
“I have been isolated from all ability to defend myself,” said the letter purportedly written by Assange and read by Mr Dimmack outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday.
“No laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library so far, but even if I do get access it would just be for half an hour with everyone else, once a week, just two visits a month and it takes four weeks to get someone on the call list and a catch 22 in getting their details to be securely screened, then, all calls except lawyers are recorded, and calls are maximum ten minutes and in a limited 30 minute window each day in which all other prisoners compete for the phone and credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in (sic).”
Assange complained of being opposed by a “superpower” that has been preparing for nine years and spent “untold millions” on the case.
“I am defenceless and counting on you and others of good character to save my life,” he wrote. “I am unbroken albeit literally surrounded by murderers but the days where I could read and speak and organise to defend myself and my ideals and my people are over until I am free.
“Everyone else must take my place,” he said, adding that the US government is trying to “cheat” him rather than “letting the public hear the truth for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace prize.”
Image Credit: Reuters/Henry Nicholls