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A Royal Request: Letter from Julian Assange to King Charles III

May 5, 2023

A letter from Julian Assange to Charles III, who, despite the suffering and more than 10 years of incarceration, has lost none of his wit and his sharp pen. 

To His Majesty King Charles III,

On the occasion of my sovereign’s coronation, I thought it only fitting to extend to you a heartfelt invitation to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your own kingdom within a kingdom: His Majesty Belmarsh’s prison.

You may recall the wise words of a famous playwright: « The quality of mercy is not requested. It falls like a gentle rain from the sky on the place just below.« Ah, but what would this bard of mercy know about the fact that you are at the dawn of your historic reign? After all, you can really measure a society by how it treats its prisoners, and your kingdom has certainly excelled in this area.

Your Majesty’s Belmarsh Prison is located at the prestigious address of One Western Way, London, just a stone’s throw from the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. What a pleasure to see such an esteemed establishment bear your name! 

This is where 687 of your loyal subjects are held, confirming the UK’s status as the nation with the largest prison population in Western Europe. As your noble government recently stated, your kingdom is currently experiencing « the largest expansion of prison spaces in over a century, » with ambitious projections showing an increase in the prison population from 82,000 to 106,000 in the next four years. It’s quite a legacy, indeed.

As a political prisoner, held at the pleasure of Your Majesty on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I have the honor of residing within the walls of this world-class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no boundaries.

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to feast on culinary delights prepared for your loyal subjects on a generous budget of two pounds per day. Enjoy the blended tuna heads and the ubiquitous reconstituted forms purporting to be made of chicken. Don’t worry, because unlike other smaller institutions like Alcatraz or San Quentin, there is no communal dining in a dining hall. At Belmarsh, prisoners dine alone in their cells, which provides maximum privacy with their meal.

As a political prisoner, held at the pleasure of Your Majesty on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I have the honor of residing within the walls of this world-class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no boundaries.

Julian Assange

Beyond the taste buds, I can assure you that Belmarsh offers many educational opportunities for your subjects. As Proverbs 22:6 says: « Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Watch the lines at the medication counter, where inmates gather their prescriptions, not for daily use, but for the experience of the much broader horizon of a « big day » — all at once.

You will also have the opportunity to pay tribute to my late friend Manoel Santos, a gay man facing deportation to Bolsonaro’s Brazil, who committed suicide eight meters from my cell with a crude rope made from his bed sheets. His exquisite tenor voice has been silenced forever.

If you venture into the depths of Belmarsh, you will find the most secluded place within its walls: the Infirmary, or rather the « Lockup » as it is affectionately called by its inhabitants. Here you will be amazed by sensible rules designed for everyone’s safety, such as the ban on chess, while the much less dangerous game of checkers is allowed.

At the heart of the Enclosure is the most glorious place in all of Belmarsh, indeed in the whole of the UK: the sublime Belmarsh ‘End of Life Suite’. If you listen carefully, you may hear the cries of prisoners, « Brother, I’m going to die here, » which speaks to the quality of life and death in your prison.

But fear not, for there is beauty within these walls. You will see the picturesque crows nesting in the barbed wire and the hundreds of hungry rats that call Belmarsh home. And if you come in the spring, you may even be able to see the ducklings laid by mallards that have wandered into the prison grounds. But don’t delay, because ravenous rats ensure that their life is short-lived.

I implore you, King Charles, to visit His Majesty’s Belmarsh prison. Belmarsh, for it is an honor worthy of a king. As you begin your reign, always remember the words of the King James Bible: « Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy » (Matthew 5:7). And may mercy be the guiding light of your kingdom, both inside and outside the walls of Belmarsh.

Your most devoted subject,


The original English text: https: //declassifieduk.org/a‑kingly-proposal-letter-from-julian-assange-to-king-charles-iii/

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