WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster magistrates court in London after a previous hearing last month. Simon Dawson-Reuters

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange say they will file papers Wednesday to have him released on bail because he is at risk of contracting coronavirus.

Assange is being held at a London-area prison as he fights extradition to the United States, where he has been charged with espionage for obtaining classified government documents from former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and publishing them on his website. The documents were secret diplomatic cables and military files related to the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Health experts say the prisoners are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 because of overcrowded conditions.

Assange has been imprisoned since he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy last April, where he had sought refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning in a sexual assault case.

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