LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has tested positive for Covid, his wife said on Monday, as she fights his extradition to the United States.
“Julian wasn’t feeling well last week but started feeling ill on Friday,” Stella Assange was quoted as saying by the press association Press Agency.
“He started coughing and had a fever. He was given paracetamol. He tested positive for Covid on Saturday.”
Thousands of people formed a human chain around the British parliament in London on Saturday to demand the release of Assange from London’s Belmarsh prison.
The Australian national, now 51, has been held in the high security prison since 2019, having served time for skipping bail in a previous case.
As the pandemic took hold in early 2020, he unsuccessfully requested his release on bail due to the risk of contracting Covid in prison.
His lawyers said at the time that he had a history of illness, including respiratory infections.
Stella Assange, who married Assange in Belmarsh in March and is the mother of their two young sons, said she was worried about his health.
“The next few days will be crucial for his general state of health. He is now locked in his cell 24 hours a day,” she added.
Assange canceled his bail in 2010 following Swedish attempts to extradite him in connection with a sexual assault case and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.
The case was dropped in 2019 and he lost his asylum status after a change of government in Quito led to his arrest and imprisonment.
In August, Assange’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against the CIA for allegedly eavesdropping on private conversations with him at the mission.
He is appealing against the UK’s approval of his extradition to stand trial for leaking US military secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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