Published time: 29 Jul, 2019 by www.rt.com
Julian Assange will most likely be subjected to torture if he is extradited to the US, the UN special rapporteur on torture warned, revealing Assange’s current living conditions.
The UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, visited Assange at Belmarsh Prison in London with two medical experts in May to access the extent of the ill-treatment the WikiLeaks founder has been subjected to over the years. Following the examination, Melzer wrote letters to the American, British, Ecuadorian, and Swedish governments outlining his conclusions.
In the letters, made public over the weekend, Melzer appealed to the governments of the UK and Sweden not to surrender Assange to the US justice system, where the 48-year-old will likely be “tortured.” At the same time, he demanded a fair trial for Assange from the US.
“Given the strongly perceptible public and official prejudice held against Mr. Assange in the United States, there are serious reasons to doubt that he would receive a fair trial before an impartial judicial body as required under human rights law,” Melzer wrote.
“I underscore my most serious concern that, if Mr. Assange were to be extradited or otherwise surrendered to the United States… he would be exposed to a real risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
In his letters, Melzer also shed light on Assange’s prison conditions. According to his observations, the journalist is being kept in a 2-by-3-meter cell where he is locked up about 20 hours a day. He spends 30-60 minutes in the yard outside, while the rest of the time (3-4 hours) he is allowed to interact with other inmates.
Assange also lacked access to the prison library and gym, as well as access to a computer, at the time of the visit, which “severely hampers his ability to adequately prepare for the multiple and complex legal proceedings that are pending against him.”
The UN official also confirmed the deteriorating physical and mental health of the journalist, who showed “all symptoms typical for prolonged and sustained exposure to severe psychological stress, anxiety and related mental and emotional suffering in an environment highly conducive to major depressive and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).”
Unless Assange gains access to a psychiatrist, his mental health could deteriorate further, Melzer warned, stressing that “Assange’s health condition and cognitive and sensory capacity have been, and still are, significantly impaired.”