WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has tested positive for Covid and faces days of solitary confinement in his prison cell, his wife has revealed.
Stella Assange told the PA news agency she is worried about his health, which has deteriorated since he was sent to Belmarsh prison three years ago after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He is embroiled in a lengthy legal battle to avoid extradition to the United States.
News of the Covid infection emerged over the weekend, when thousands of people demonstrated in London, Washington DC and Melbourne to demand Assange’s release from prison.
Ms Assange said: “Julian felt unwell last week but started feeling ill on Friday. He started coughing and had a fever. He was given some paracetamol. He tested positive for Covid on Saturday , the same day that thousands of people took to the streets to support him.
“Obviously I’m worried about him and the next few days will be crucial for his overall health. He’s locked in his cell now 24 hours a day.”
Ms Assange said she was delighted by the number of people who formed a human chain around Parliament on Saturday, estimating more than 5,000 people attended.
It was the largest event of its kind in support of the WikiLeaks founder, who has won support from human rights organizations, journalists’ groups and others around the world.
Last month, American lawyers and journalists who visited Assange when he was in the Ecuadorian embassy said they are suing the CIA, alleging it spied on his private conversations in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.