Actress Pamela Anderson recently spoke to The New York Post about the case against journalist Julian Assange ahead of Monday's ruling on his extradition to the United States. Notably, the former Baywatch star highlighted the reports of the Australian publisher's deteriorating health at Belmarsh Prison, a high-security Category-A facility located in south London, England.
"It's madness," she said.
"He is … crammed in amongst murderers in a prison that is rife with COVID. It's the middle of winter and it's freezing in there and his winter clothes haven't been delivered. The whole thing is a medieval madness."The New York Post noted that Assange's lawyers have expressed concern about the WikiLeaks founder's health.
"Assange's lawyers and doctors maintain the months of isolation have left the journalist underweight, limping and so unfocused that he can't even assist with his defense. They've repeatedly requested bail because of his poor health and vulnerability to COVID-19," the news outlet wrote.
Anderson argued for people to pressure Donald Trump to pardon Assange and noted the wartime atrocities that he uncovered with his reporting.
"Drop the charges. Stop this persecution of a man who was brave enough to stand up for the right thing."Anderson is one of many celebrities who have called for Assange's release. Others include filmmaker Oliver Stone, Pink Floyd bass player Roger Waters, and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
Amnesty International human rights expert Julia Hall previously sounded the alarm on Assange's treatment in an op-ed for Al Jazeera. She described her encounter with the WikiLeaks founder early last year during court proceedings and said he was a "shadow" of his previous self that had trouble hearing and understanding the proceedings. She claimed that the writer — who has allegedly shown signs of psychological torture — said he was unable to consult with his lawyers while imprisoned. Hall argued that Assange has been targeted by a strategy that aims to cut him off from his friends, family, and legal team, and attributed this purported scheme to his poor physical and mental fitness.
According to journalist Glenn Greenwald, the British judge overseeing the extradition ruling — Judge Vanessa Baraitser — has been openly combative toward Assange and will likely extradite the activist. Nevertheless, the Intercept co-founder predicted that the imprisoned Australian will likely disappear in a prison system — either the United States' or the United Kingdom's — regardless of the verdict tomorrow.
Greenwald also warned that the Assange case will have significant implications for press freedoms and transparency. In a piece on his Substack, the writer compared Assange's imprisonment to a Kafkaesque nightmare.