New photos have emerged of Julian Assange in jail, taken by a fellow inmate in Belmarsh prison, which show the Wikileaks founder chatting with other prisoners and sporting a neatly-trimmed beard.
The Australian is serving a 50-week jail term in the London jail for skipping British bail, but faces extradition to the United States where he could be locked up for the rest of his life if he is found guilty of the charges he faces of breaching the Espionage Act.
Lawyers for Assange, 47, recently said his mental health was so poor they could not hold a normal conversation with him, and Assange, who has been moved to the hospital wing, did not appear via videolink as planned at a hearing last week.
Today the photos, which were taken before Assange’s recent bout of ill-health according to Gateway Pundit which published the images, show Assange in a long sleeved blue t-shirt, standing arms-crossed as he chats to other prisoners.
New photographs taken in Belmarsh prison show Julian Assange looking tired and gaunt
Lit by the fluorescent lights of the jail his face looks gaunt and pale, having seemingly lost a considerable amount of weight over the last few months. The inmate who took the photos told the publication: ‘Belmarsh has sucked the life out of him’
The images were taken on a cameraphone by another prisoner and many are overwritten with the web address of a crowd funding website in an apparent attempt to generate money.
Gateway Pundit, which published the photos, said others also showed the inside of Assange’s small cell, which contains a thin blue mattress.
The photographer whose claims have not been corroborated, told the publication that he was a support of the Australians, saying: ‘He exposed the biggest scandals in the world. Whose side do you think someone in prison would be on? The government who have us locked up in here or a fellow prisoner who actually doesn’t deserve to be here?’
The Wikileaks founder can be seen, arms crossed and looking skeptical, talking to inmates
Many of the photographs released to The Gateway Pundit are overwritten with a crowd funding web address
The photographer told the website Belmarsh had ‘sucked the life’ out of Assange
He said he had been offered a five-figure sum by a national newspaper for the photographs but was only interested in telling Mr Assange’s story ‘properly’.
‘I want his case to be understood fully, in detail,’ the inmate told TGP. ‘I want people to know why exactly the USA wants him and what good he has done for the world.’
After being told Assange looked like he had lost weight, the inmate remarked ‘it’s true. Belmarsh has sucked the life out of him.’
Speaking generally about how Assange is viewed by the other inmates, the prisoner said that he is well liked among the prison population. ‘Everyone’s got a million questions for him — like ‘is the illuminati real?’ He’s probably heard that question a million times,’ the inmate said, along with laughing emojis.
The photographs were allegedly taken prior to Assange’s recent bout of ill-health which saw him moved to the hospital wing of the prison
Other unpublished photos from inside Assange’s cell show the thin blue mattress he sleeps on
Assange faces a 175 year jail term in the USA for breaching the Espionage Act if convicted
He published unredacted documents which revealed military and intelligence assets endangering personnel, the Justice Department alleges
The prisoner stated that Assange is still currently in the hospital wing of the prison, and received as many as 500 letters a day from fans and supporters.
Mr Assange lived inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost seven years before being dragged out last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for a bail violation.
He now faces an extradition request from the US to face claims of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Assange pictured leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11, with a much longer beard
HMP Belmarsh. Assange is serving 50 weeks for skipping bail but could be extradited to the US
It comes after a UN special report concluded Britain had subjected Julian Assange to an ‘endless stream of psychological torture’ according to a UN expert who visited the Wikileaks founder in prison and found his mental state had ‘deteriorated’.
The UK, along with the US Sweden and Ecuador has engaged in a ‘relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr Assange’, according to Professor Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, who warned the Australian could not expect a fair trial in the US.
Prof Melzer concluded the the ‘systematic judicial persecution’ ‘oppressive isolation’, and ‘deliberate collective ridicule’ of Mr Assange amounted to ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture’.