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UN Rapporteur says Assange shows clear signs of lasting exposure to psychological torture

Geneva, Jun 27 (GCCurrentAffairs) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shows clear signs of having been exposed to a psychological torture for a long period of time, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who released earlier in the week an op-ed on the whistleblower’s imprisonment, said.

Melzer recently visited Assange with two experienced medical experts to receive unbiased, science-based assessment of the whistleblower’s health state in order to avoid any possible politicized speculations regarding his piece.

“I took with me a psychiatrist and a forensic expert, both of them have decades of experience of working with torture victims. And they compiled a medical protocol, which is designed and recognized internationally for the identification and documentation of signs of torture, both psychological and physical … What we found … [is] that Julian Assange shows signs that are typical for persons who have been exposed to a psychological torture for a prolonged period of time – severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive weaknesses and distortions,” Melzer said.

The rapporteur noted he could not reveal all the medical diagnosis due to the patient’s confidentiality, adding that the symptoms were very severe.

A very important point is that Assange had been isolated from outside influence for almost six years, Melzer stressed.

“He has been exposed to consistent public mobbing, intimidation, calls for assassination, insults, ridicule. We know from school that mobbing is extremely destructive and can lead people to suicide … Here we have someone who has been mobbed by the world. No state has ever stepped in and at least tried to prevent it,” he said.

Assange gained fame after WikiLeaks published a large number of classified documents, including some that exposed abuses of power and war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He was arrested in London on Apr 11 and then sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail back in 2012, when he took asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK capital to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault charges. The whistleblower, currently kept in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, is facing extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on espionage charges and may be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Via UNI-India

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