Jen Robinson, human rights lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Australian reporters Wednesday Assange is in poor health for his coming legal proceedings. Assange faces extradition to the US where 18 counts of illegally obtaining, receiving and disclosing classified information await him.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition in June. Assange is in the midst of appealing the order. If Assange’s appeal to stay fails, the 51-year-old could serve up to 175 years in US federal prison.
The extradition order comes after years of protracted legal battles with Sweden and the US. The threat of possible deportation to Sweden caused Assange to take refuge in Ecuador’s London-based embassy. Ecuador granted Assange’s asylum request in 2012. The Swedish government eventually dropped all charges in November 2019 ending its extradition request.
Ecuador rescinded Assange’s asylum the same year. London police where invited into the embassy to remove him. He has since been housed in a high-security prison in London.
After a combined decade of embassy and prison confinement, it is unclear to the public what the true physical health of Assange is. A 2018 report on his condition stated confinement led to an increased risk of depression, pain and suicidal thoughts. However, the report did not reveal specific details about Assange’s health. On October 10, Assange tested positive for COVID-19. His attorney, Jen Robinson, fears he may not survive through the appeal to stay in the UK.