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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied bail amid coronavirus fears

Julian Assange

London: A UK court has denied bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition to the US, after his attorneys expressed concerns that he would be at particular risk if he contracted the novel coronavirus in prison.

On Wednesday, Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates Court rejected the lawyers’ argument that their client could easily become infected with the virus at London’s Belmarsh Prison and that his life would be at risk in the event of contagion due to his poor health after eight years of confinement, reports Efe news.

The request was made after the British government said it planned to temporarily release some inmates in a bid to reduce the spread of the deadly virus in the country’s prison system.

In issuing her ruling, the district judge said she had no reason to doubt the effectiveness of the measures Belmarsh has adopted to combat the coronavirus and said the 48-year-old Australian is not the only inmate at risk from the pandemic.

She accepted the argument of Clair Dobbin, the attorney representing US authorities, who said Assange poses a flight risk and will not return and attend his extradition hearing if he was released. (IANS)

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