UN envoy says UK ‘contributed’ to Assange’s torture, urges British govt to release him immediately


31-12-19 10:12:00,

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has published a letter to the UK government, asking it to end the detention of Julian Assange, warning that his health may soon reach a “critical” stage, including risk of death.

The scathing letter, which was penned by Melzer on October 29, urged the British authorities to review the WikiLeaks founder’s prison conditions or release him immediately. However, having received no response from London in the last 60 days, Melzer decided to go public and publish the document in full on Tuesday.

(2/6) My official findings, supported by medical experts, unquestionably provide “reasonable ground to believe” that UK officials contributed to #Assange’s psychological torture or ill-treatment, whether through perpetration, attempt, complicity or other forms of participation.

— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) 31 декабря 2019 г.

In the letter, the UN special rapporteur described the detention regime that Assange has to endure in the clandestine top-security Belmarsh Prison as “unnecessary, disproportionate, and discriminatory.” He said it was designed to “perpetuate [Assange’s] exposure to psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Melzer proceeded to admonish the British government for taking four months to respond to his previous letter of May 27, which was penned after Melzer visited Assange in the high-security facility on May 9.

Melzer wrote that a “thorough forensic and psychiatric examination” performed during his visit showed “a clear pattern of symptoms typical for persons having been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time.” But instead of heeding his recommendations, the UK turned a blind eye to the findings, preferring not to do anything to alleviate the journalist’s suffering.

Noting that his conclusions have been backed by medical experts, Melzer said they provide “reasonable ground to believe” that British officials “have contributed” to Assange’s torture or ill-treatment at the hands of the UK penitentiary system.

“I am very concerned that, if the UK does not take urgent remedial measures to alleviate Mr Assange’s situation, his health may soon reach a critical stage, including the risk of death”

The envoy noted that matters could go further south for Assange if the UK follows through with his extradition to the US,

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UN torture envoy demands ‘full accountability & compensation’ after Sweden drops rape probe against Assange


19-11-19 09:47:00,

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture has called for a “full investigation” into the role Sweden played in driving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into asylum and eventual custody, after the rape case against him was dropped.

Swedish prosecutors announced on Tuesday that they would drop a dubious rape inquiry against Assange, as oral testimony against the publisher had “weakened,” and corroborating evidence was not strong enough to pursue a case. A Swedish arrest warrant was issued against assange in 2010, and a British court upheld a decision to extradite him in 2012. Threatened with what many saw as a politically motivated extradition, Assange sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

“Today’s collapse of Sweden’s #Assange investigation was inevitable,” rapporteur Nils Melzer tweeted on Tuesday. “Given its gross arbitrariness, there must now be a full investigation, and accountability & compensation for the harm inflicted on #JulianAssange.”

Melzer had previously claimed that Assange was subjected to “psychological torture” and had his due process rights “systematically violated” by the governments of Britain and Sweden. The WikiLeaks founder is still languishing in a maximum security unit at Belmarsh prison, awaiting a hearing on extradition to the US, where he potentially faces 175 years behind bars for publishing leaked military documents.

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In a document tweeted by Melzer, the envoy accuses Sweden of “actively and knowingly” contributing to Assange’s torture, and accuses prosecutors there of working in tandem with Britain’s Crown Prosecutorial Service to keep the case against Assange alive in the face of exculpatory evidence.

With the rape case against him dropped, some commentators have warned that the path to extradition to the US may now be clearer. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told supporters that their focus should now shift to the most important “threat” that Assange was “warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”

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UN Envoy Issues Grim Warning Over Assange’s Life


10-11-19 12:10:00,

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A United Nations expert in torture diagnosis has in the past week issued a stark warning that Australian whistleblower Julian Assange is in danger of dying from extreme prison conditions in Britain.

It is testimony to the rank hypocrisy of British and American governments who lecture others around the world about democracy, human rights and international law.

One can only imagine the hysterical outcry among Western governments and media if somehow Assange was being detained in a Russian prison.

The 48-year-old Assange has been held in a maximum-security prison in London since April this year when he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorean embassy. His arrest was itself a staggering breach of international law. Assange had been confined to the embassy for nearly seven years where he sought asylum to avoid being extradited to the US.

He should have been released on September 22 when his sentence for a past bail infringement had been served out. Instead, a British judge has ordered Assange to be detained until the extradition trial to the US gets underway next year. If Assange is extradited to the US he is facing 175 years in prison if convicted for espionage. Few would believe that he will receive a fair trial in Britain or the US. He has been denied due process of consulting with his defense lawyers.

Assange’s “espionage” charge stems from the fact that his whistleblower site Wikileaks published volumes of damning information exposing massive US and NATO war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. His publications of leaked data also exposed Western diplomatic malfeasance in several countries, as well as illegal global spying on citizens by US intelligence agencies in collusion with British counterparts.

Assange has provided vital information to the international public which demonstrates systematic corruption by Washington and its allies. For telling the truth, he is now being persecuted, just as his whistleblowing colleagues, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are. Manning has been repeatedly imprisoned in the US, while Snowden has had to seek asylum in Russia for fear of being summarily incarcerated as a “traitor” if he returns to the US.

Nils Melzer,

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