Singer hits out at ‘dis­crim­i­na­tion’ against As­sange

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY LAURA PARNABY

Singer MIA has de­manded the re­lease of Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange af­ter vis­it­ing him in Lon­don’s high-se­cu­rity Bel­marsh prison.

The rap­per and song­writer – real name Mathangi Arul­pra­gasam – is one of a num­ber of celebrity sup­port­ers who have been to see As­sange since he was sent to Bel­marsh ear­lier this year af­ter spend­ing seven years in the Ecuado­rian em­bassy in the cap­i­tal to avoid ex­tra­di­tion.

A s k e d h o w t h e whistle­blower was far­ing, the 44-year-old mu­si­cian said: “It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe ... he shouldn’t be in there.”

The singer said she be­lieves As­sange is be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against.

“I’ve been try­ing to give a yoga book to him for a month now and I come here ev­ery week try­ing to give him it, and it’s im­pos­si­ble,” she said.

“To me that’s a very ex­treme method, where pris­on­ers are de­nied even read­ing books.

“I wasn’t al­lowed to bring in sketch­books for him to write the thoughts in his head or draw,” she said.

“I can sym­pa­thise with peo­ple who think he’s be­ing treated un­fairly. I think there is an el­e­ment of dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

She added: “The bot­tom line is he’s in there (in jail) be­cause he ex­posed some war crimes. We can­not make this an ex­am­ple for so­ci­ety where we pe­nalise peo­ple for that.”

As­sange, was jailed for 50 weeks in May for breach­ing bail af­ter he was dragged from the em­bassy in Lon­don when the Ecuado­rian gov­ern­ment with­drew per­mis­sion for him to be there.

He had been due for re­lease in Septem­ber af­ter serv­ing half his sen­tence but has been re­manded in cus­tody while he awaits ex­tra­di­tion to the US to face charges linked to his al­leged com­put­er­hack­ing and unau­tho­rised dis­clo­sure of na­tional de­fence in­for­ma­tion.

He is due to face a full ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing on Fe­bru­ary 25.

Con­cerned: singer MIA

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