Lawyers for Julian Assange to apply for bail, citing risk of coronavirus

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will apply to release their client on bail because he risks contracting the coronavirus while imprisoned, the organization announced Monday.

Assange is being held in the U.K. while facing extradition to the U.S. over leaking classified government documents more than 10 years ago. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

On its official Twitter page, WikiLeaks said Assange’s lawyers will apply for bail at court on Wednesday.

Assange’s lawyers have said their client “is in imminent danger from coronavirus spreading through the prison population and should be released for his and other prisoners' and staff's safety.

U.S. prosecutors are accusing him of conspiring with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password, hack into a Pentagon computer and release hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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They also allege that WikiLeaks' publication of the unedited documents put the U.S. intelligence sources who were mentioned in them at risk of torture or death

The request to release Assange on bail comes as other countries have raised the alarm on their prison populations being fertile ground for the spread of the virus.

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Last week, Iran freed some 85,000 inmates from its deeply infested and dilapidated prisons while multiple U.S. prisons have begun releasing some of their inmates.

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.