Assange showing symptoms of 'psychological torture': UN

2019-05-31 19:02
Julian Assange (John Stillwell, AFP)

Julian Assange (John Stillwell, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has shown "obvious" signs of the psychological torture inflicted on him due to years of confinement and persecution, according to a United Nations human rights expert.

Nils Melzer, the UN rapporteur on torture visited Assange in prison in the United Kingdom, where he is currently serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012.

Melzer made the visit on May 9 along with two medical experts who specialise in examining potential torture victims. They were able to meet "in confidence and to conduct a thorough medical assessment", the UN said. 

"It was obvious that Mr Assange's health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years," Melzer said in a statement released on Friday.

In addition to physical ailments, Assange showed "all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma," the statement read.


Last month, police dragged Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had been holed up since 2012.

The Australian national faces a slew of charges from several countries, including a preliminary investigation in Sweden over an alleged rape in 2010.

Last week, prosecutors in the United States brought a new 17-count indictment against Assange for obtaining, conspiracy to receive and disclosure of classified information. These counts are in addition to previous charges of his interactions with US army whistle-blower Chelsea Manning

Extradition to US

Assange has been fighting extradition to the US since Ecuador revoked his asylum in April, with pressure mounting on UK Prime Minister Theresa May to deny his extradition on human rights grounds. 

"I am seriously, gravely concerned that if this man were to be extradited to the United States, he would be exposed to a politicised show trial and grave violations of his human rights," Melzer told reporters on Friday

In the statement, he argued that the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador were "ganging up" on Assange in an attempt to "deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse" him.

Over the past nine years, Melzer said, Assange was exposed to increasingly severe abuse ranging from judicial persecution, isolation and surveillance within the Ecuadorian embassy, as well as public humiliation and repeated calls for his assassination. 

"In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law." 

Read more on:    un  |  julian assange  |  us  |  uk

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.