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Protests Mark Third Anniversary Of Assange’s Arrest

The third anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange at a maximum-security prison has sparked protests in London and the United States.

Tomorrow marks three years since the Wikileaks founder was forcibly dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum over the previous seven years.

Vigils were due to be held yesterday at the embassy, Westminster magistrates’ court and Belmarsh prison, where he has been held for the past three years.

Mr Assange’s family, friends and supporters are calling for his release and the US to drop its extradition case against him.

Protests are also planned today in Washington DC outside the British embassy and the Department of Justice offices.

Speaking at the International Journalism Film festival on Saturday, Mr Assange’s wife Stella warned that with every day he is locked up in Belmarsh, his health deteriorates further.

“Monday will be three years of his incarceration in Belmarsh prison,” she said.

“He’s … locked in by himself for many hours a day and you can just imagine what kind of effect that has on a person.

“He’s in a prison surrounded by very dangerous people but also a prison that cannot address his needs. He had a mini-stroke in October, and obviously, that is a sign of his health dramatically deteriorating.”

The pair, who have two children together, married last month inside Belmarsh.

Mr Assange is facing extradition to the US where he is wanted for publishing thousands of classified documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan war which exposed US war crimes.

A spokesperson from Doctors for Assange said: “As another shameful anniversary passes, Julian Assange’s life remains in danger. Three years of political imprisonment in Belmarsh preceded by seven years of arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian embassy have predictably taken a terrible toll on Mr Assange’s mental and physical health. And still, unconscionably, he faces the prospect of extradition to, and continued psychological torture in, the United States. This political punishment by process must end now.”

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