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Julian Assange
Julian Assange

Julian Assange Shows Symptoms of Psychological Torture: UN Expert

LONDON – Julian Assange shows all the symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to psychological torture and should not be extradited to the United States, according to a UN expert who visited him in prison.
Nils Melzer, UN special rapporteur on torture, is expected to present his appeal to the government of the United Kingdom on Friday. It comes after his lawyers said that Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, was too ill to appear via video link for the last court hearing on Thursday.
Assange was transferred to the health room at Belmarsh prison in London, where he served a 50-week sentence for bail while fighting extradition to the United States. He is accused of violating the Espionage Law by publishing secret documents containing the names of confidential diplomatic and military sources of the United States.
After meeting with Assange earlier this month in the company of medical experts who examined him, Melzer said on Friday that he fears that Australia’s human rights could be seriously violated if he is extradited to the United States and condemn what he describes as the “deliberate and concerted Abuse inflicted for years” on him.
Assange was arrested in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum and invited the police to Knightsbridge’s diplomatic facilities in the country, where he had sought refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for sexual assault allegations, which he has denied.
“Physically there were ailments but that aspect is being addressed by the prison health service and there was nothing urgent or dangerous that way,” Melzer said.
“What worried him was the psychological side and his constant anxiety. It was noticeable that he had the feeling of being under the threat of everyone. He understood what my role was, but it’s more that he was extremely agitated and occupied with his own thoughts. It was difficult to have a very structured conversation with him.”
Melzer said Belmarsh was a former prison and had problems about it, but described it as well-maintained, adding that the characterizations of it as a “supermax” or “the Guantanamo of Britain” were useless. While he has a high security wing, Melzer said Assange was not in that section.
The lawyer, who receives between 10 and 15 requests a day from sources who ask him to get involved, said Assange’s lawyers had approached his office in December. But he said he was initially reluctant to do so, admitting that he was affected by what he called the “prejudice” surrounding the case.
However, he began to analyze the case again in March and, earlier this week, wrote letters to the foreign ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
“In the course of the past nine years, Assange has been exposed to persistent and progressively serious abuses ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and vigilance within the Embassy, and of deliberate collectives. “Ridicule, insults and humiliation, to instigate violence and even repeated calls for his murder,” Melzer said on Friday.
He added that the UK authorities had contacted his Geneva office to indicate that the British government would issue a point-by-point rebuttal of the assertions made in its letter.
US efforts to jail Assange for espionage are a serious threat to free media.
Melzer, who urges the UK government not to extradite Assange to the United States or any other state that does not provide reliable guarantees against his transfer to the United States, criticized the way the Assange case was handled after the Police took him out of the embassy.
“I was surprised, for example, to see that, on the date he was arrested, he was immediately taken to court after six years in the embassy and then sentenced. Under normal rule of law, one would expect them to arrest someone and then give them a couple of weeks to prepare at least their defense.”
The former Red Cross legal advisor will say on Friday: “In 20 years of working with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states come together to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single person for such a long time and with so little respect for human dignity and the rule of law.”
Assange could face decades in a US prison After being accused of violating the Espionage Law by publishing classified information through WikiLeaks.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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