Six years ago in 2014 we created a self-care routine video we called the Bootsequence. It shows a sequence of soft simple movements to wake up, warm up, unlock, stretch, strengthen the body from head to toes. It is recommended in the morning, before physical activity (including long hours of computer work), or as an interlude, to restore some flow in the body after prolonged stillness.
We dedicated this self-care routine video to Julian Assange, journalist founder of WikiLeaks, in a gesture of care and to raise awareness about his situation, and that of other imprisoned journalists, hacktivists and whistleblowers. Indeed at the time of shooting the video, Julian Assange was a political refugee inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, living in a situation similar to arbitrary detention (as ruled by UN working group on arbitrary detention). That abuse kept intensifying over the years, seriously damaging Assange’s physical and psychological health, as assessed and documented by doctors and by UN rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer. It culminated with Assange’s arrest by UK authorities in April 2019, his imprisonment at Belmarsh, and the US charging him with espionage act offenses and requesting his extradition. In the US, Julian Assange risks more torture and 175 years in prison – for doing great journalism.
Amid the new coronavirus epidemic and with Assange still not free, we thought we’d share this self-care video again. To stay balanced and fit through the epidemic, and, with some people confined, to remember to keep moving and find structure in a routine. All the while remembering to keep fighting for Julian Assange’s freedom and safety, because his life is more than ever at risk.
Still not free, weakened by a multipartite political persecution which doesn’t seem to ever end, Julian Assange is detained at Belmarsh prison in London, awaiting the second part of the extradition trial, set in May.
Meanwhile the new coronavirus infection epidemic progresses everywhere, overwhelming healthcare systems, costing lives, disrupting activities, revealing social divides, showing the damages done by human greed gone global. Many people across countries now practice social distancing and live confined to their homes to try and contain the epidemic – necessary vital precautions of course, and also, it could be argued, a compensation for their governments lack of preparedness, cynical neglect, years of dismantling of the welfare state, and self-interest of big private capital. Many people are toiling hard still, insufficiently protected.
Concerns are growing about the health and safety of the most vulnerable people including prisoners, often living in overcrowded unsanitary conditions, in the UK too.
Julian Assange is not imprisoned for any crime. His health is poorly and he even developed a chronic lung condition over the past years of his arbitrary detention. Doctors have documented this, they have warned, over and over again, that his situation is most unfair and that his life is at risk in Belmarsh prison. More than ever now that he is at risk of contracting a coronavirus infection inside these walls and die from it. Like all prisoners who pose no risk to the public he should be RELEASED NOW
Yet Judge Vanessa Baraister has refused to grant bail to Julian Assange. We join other fellow campaigners in denouncing this as an appalling, dangerous, cruel if not criminal decision.
FREE ASSANGE !
Take care and keep fighting