assange belmarsh prison
© Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van.
The British Ministry of Justice has told the Australian Associated Press that Julian Assange is not eligible for early release from prison in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release from prison with other inmates because he is not serving a criminal sentence, the Australian Associated Press has reported.

British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Saturday that some low-risk inmates, weeks from release, will be let go with monitoring devices to help avoid a further outbreak of Covid-19 in the nations' prisons.

Robert Buckland assange
© Wikipedia
British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland
So far 88 prisoners and 15 staff have tested positive for the virus in British prisons. More than 25 percent of the nations' prison staff are quarantining themselves.

"This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law," Buckland said in a statement. "But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk."

The Ministry of Justice told the AAP that Assange won't be among those released because he isn't serving a custodial sentence. In other words, because he has not been convicted of a crime, and is instead only being held on remand pending the outcome of the U.S. extradition request, he must remain in Belmarsh prison with high-risk inmates-the most serious and hardened criminals.

The Daily Maverick reported this week that there is one other prisoner on remand in Belmarsh, who would presumably also be left to rot in the jail as the virus spreads throughout the British prison system.


Christine Assange, the publisher's mother, tweeted:



WikiLeaks
Ambassador Joseph Farrell released this video: