You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Photos of Julian Assange behind bars taken by fellow prisoner on smuggled phone show he's had a sharp haircut as lag who took them says WikiLeaks founder is well liked by inmates

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 7/06/2019 Joel Adams For Mailonline

Julian Assange looking at the camera: New photographs taken in Belmarsh prison show Julian Assange looking tired and gaunt © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited New photographs taken in Belmarsh prison show Julian Assange looking tired and gaunt Photos of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange taken by a fellow prisoner on an illegally smuggled mobile phone have been leaked out of Belmarsh jail.  

The pictures show Assange, who is serving 50 weeks at the Category A jail for breaching his bail, smiling and joking with fellow prisoners, who say he is well-liked among them.

Assange sports a neatly trimmed beard and has been given a short prison haircut, replacing the man-bun and unkempt facial hair he had when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in April after eight years holed up there.

Lawyers for Australian Assange, 47, recently said his mental health was so poor they could not hold a normal conversation with him and WikiLeaks said he had been moved to the jail's hospital wing due to ill-health. He did not appear via videolink as planned at a court hearing last week.

But today's photos show the whistleblower looking relaxed in a prison-issue long-sleeve blue t-shirt and seemingly no thinner than when he was last seen in public. The website Gateway Pundit, which published the leaked photographs, said they were taken before he became ill. 

Assange faces extradition to the United States where he could be locked up for the rest of his life if he is found guilty of the charges he faces of breaching the Espionage Act.

The images were taken on a camera phone by another prisoner and many have writing on them advertising the address of a crowd-funding website in an apparent attempt to generate money to pay for a QC for Assange. It had raised £30 (AU$54.60) of its £150,000 (AU$272,890) target this morning.

Gateway Pundit said others also showed the inside of Assange's small cell, which contains a thin blue mattress.

The photographer, whose claims have not been corroborated, told the publication that he was a support of the Australian, saying: 'He exposed the biggest scandals in the world. Whose side do you think someone in prison would be on? The government who have us locked up in here or a fellow prisoner who actually doesn't deserve to be here?'

a man standing in front of a mirror: The Wikileaks founder can be seen, arms crossed and looking skeptical, talking to inmates

The Wikileaks founder can be seen, arms crossed and looking skeptical, talking to inmates
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

He said he had been offered a five-figure sum by a national newspaper for the photographs but was only interested in telling Mr Assange's story 'properly'.

'I want his case to be understood fully, in detail,' the inmate told TGP. 'I want people to know why exactly the USA wants him and what good he has done for the world.'

After being told Assange looked like he had lost weight, the inmate remarked 'it's true. Belmarsh has sucked the life out of him.' 

Speaking generally about how Assange is viewed by the other inmates, the prisoner said that he is well liked among the prison population. 'Everyone's got a million questions for him — like 'is the Illuminati real?' He's probably heard that question a million times,' the inmate said, along with laughing emojis.

The photographs were allegedly taken prior to Assange's recent bout of ill-health which saw him moved to the hospital wing of the prison

The photographs were allegedly taken prior to Assange's recent bout of ill-health which saw him moved to the hospital wing of the prison
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

The prisoner stated that Assange is still currently in the hospital wing of the prison, and received as many as 500 letters a day from fans and supporters.

Mr Assange lived inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost seven years before being dragged out last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for a bail violation.

He now faces an extradition request from the US to face claims of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

a close up of a man: Assange pictured leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11, with a much longer beard © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Assange pictured leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11, with a much longer beard a large brick building: HMP Belmarsh. Assange is serving 50 weeks for skipping bail but could be extradited to the US © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited HMP Belmarsh. Assange is serving 50 weeks for skipping bail but could be extradited to the US

It comes after a UN special report concluded Britain had subjected Julian Assange to an 'endless stream of psychological torture' according to a UN expert who visited the Wikileaks founder in prison and found his mental state had 'deteriorated'.

The UK, along with the US Sweden and Ecuador has engaged in a 'relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr Assange', according to Professor Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, who warned the Australian could not expect a fair trial in the US.

Prof Melzer concluded the 'systematic judicial persecution' 'oppressive isolation', and 'deliberate collective ridicule' of Mr Assange amounted to 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture'.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon