‘ Tortured’ Assange in a ‘ downward spiral’: UN expert
A UNITED Nations adviser has said he holds grave concerns for the health and welfare of jailed Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Nils Melzer, an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report to the UN on the theme of torture, has sounded the alarm at the continued deterioration of Assange’s health, saying it was in “a downward spiral” that could end in death.
Assange was sent to the high security HM Prison Belmarsh in England on April 11 following his arrest at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had lived in asylum for almost seven years.
Last month, Assange, 48, seemed distracted and disoriented when he appeared before a London court.
He is locked up as he awaits a US extradition order over 17 counts of spying and one count of computer hacking in relation to WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified Pentagon files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“While the US government persecutes Mr Assange for publishing information about serious human rights violations, including torture and murder, the officials responsible for these crimes continue to enjoy impunity,” said Mr Melzer.
The UN adviser visited Assange in prison with his medical team in May and reported then that he exhibited “symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture”.
Mr Melzer demanded steps be taken immediately for the “protection of (Assange’s) health and dignity”.
“What we have seen from the UK government is outright contempt for Mr Assange’s rights and integrity,” he said.