UN Human Rights Defender: Health status of Julian Assange life-threatening

The life of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in danger, according to a UN Special Rapporteur. The imprisoned Wikileaks revelator showed signs of "psychological torture" as early as May, but the British authorities did not care, wrote Torture Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer in Geneva on Friday. Since the arrest of Assange his health has steadily deteriorated, his life is now in danger. "Despite the medical urgency of my complaint and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the United Kingdom has not taken the necessary investigative, preventive and remedial measures under international law," Melzer said. "What we have seen from the British Government is a total disregard for the rights and integrity of Mr Assange", it says in the report.

Under the Convention against Torture, UN States must immediately and impartially investigate if there is reason to believe that there has been a torture. According to Melzer, he received a "fleeting response" from the British government only five months after his visit in May. In it, Melzer's recommendations to initiate investigations and take countermeasures should not have been taken into account. No additional information was wanted to be sent to the UN Special Rapporteur.

The US has submitted an extradition request. Britain allowed the extradition procedure. The US accuses Assange of publishing secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted on all counts, he faces 175 years in prison. He had found refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012, but was arrested in April following the removal of the Embassy Asylum. The hearings on extradition are expected to take place early next year.

Assange has now served his sentence for breach of bail obligations and is only detained because of the extradition request. He is isolated and supervised in prison, which is not necessary in such cases, Melzer said. He also has no free access to documents and lawyers. Melzer demanded Assange's release and a refusal of surrender.

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(with dpa material) /


. (tagsToTranslate) Torture (t) Health (t) Julian Assange (t) Nils Melzer (t) UN human rights activist