Julian Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens made the denial in a tweet to me this morning:

he didn’t Carl. Have confirmed to anyone who asked. It was the Governors decision, sd to be for safety.

For a few days now I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of how Assange came to be held “in solitary confinement” (as Mark Stephens has put it – see this impromptu press conference outside City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 December, 8 minutes in) when in Wandsworth prison from the 6-16 December.

Two media sources had previously published anonymous suggestions that Julian Assange might himself have asked to be segregated from other prisoners under “rule 45” of the Prison Rules. On 9 December the Guardian wrote that

Assange is thought to have asked to be housed away from other prisoners, who had shown a high degree of interest in him after he arrived

and on 15 December the Daily Mail wrote that

A prison source said Assange was being treated like any other inmate held in the segregation unit, which is where he had requested to be.
What Mark Stephens has said today clearly contradicts the anonymous sources referred to in the Guardian and Mail, and would seem to close the question of how segregation came about. It makes sense that the decision was on grounds of safety: under Prison Service Order 1700 Julian Assange’s own protection would be the only relevant grounds on which he could be segregated from other prisoners. There’s no suggestion Assange could have been thought disruptive or to have committed any misconduct in prison, which would be the alternatives.
2010-12-22T16:45:18+00:00Tags: , , |