It has become quiet around Julian Assange (48). But the Wikileaks founder, who is sitting in a British high-security wing, is miserable behind bars.
In an alarming appeal published by the renowned medical journal “The Lancet”, 120 doctors and psychologists are calling for an end to “psychological torture and medical neglect” – and warn that if the Australian investigative journalist and activist die in his cell, he was “effectively tortured to death”!
Geneva’s health director demands humanitarian visa
At the end of last year, the UN Special Representative against Torture, the Swiss Nils Melzer (50), issued a drastic report on Assange’s state of health. In an interview with the “SonntagsBlick” he said that Assange showed clinically measurable consequences of psychological torture: “Cumulatively, this profoundly arbitrary practice (…) leads to the consequences of death. And without any trace of blood. That is what we mean by white torture. »
Aid to the arrested Wikileaks founder is now coming from western Switzerland. There Assange could get a humanitarian visa. Geneva health director Mauro Poggia (60) is committed to Assange.
Today, Wednesday, he wants to make the relevant advance in the State Council meeting. He knew how delicate the dossier was, he told the SRF. But: “We will go ahead and put all our weight into the federal government to get a positive answer.”
High hurdles for humanitarian visas
Assange’s case is extremely complicated. He can apply for a humanitarian visa from a Swiss representation abroad if his life and physical integrity are “directly, seriously and specifically endangered”.
However, such residence permits are usually issued in the event of particularly acute armed conflicts or real and immediate personal threats in the country of origin or residence. However, if the person concerned is already in a third country – as in Assange’s UK – Switzerland is generally no longer considered to be threatened by Switzerland. (Kin)
An overview of the most important events surrounding Julian Assange’s time in the embassy in Ecuador.
- From July to October, the disclosure platform Wikileaks publishes around 470,000 classified documents that are related to US diplomatic activities and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another 250,000 documents will be added later.
- In November, the Swedish public prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant for Assange. He is accused of rape and sexual violence against two women. Assange rejects the allegation and shortly thereafter surrenders to the London police. He will be released on bail until a decision is made on Sweden’s extradition request.
- A British court granted the Swedish extradition request in February. Assange is concerned: He fears that Sweden could extradite him to the United States, where he could face trial and possibly even the death penalty for the leaked documents.
- Julian Assange flees to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June and successfully applies for political asylum. Ecuador unsuccessfully asks the British government for permission to fly Assange to Quito.
- Swedish investigators fail to question Assange at the London embassy. A UN working group comes to the conclusion that Assange is “arbitrarily detained” in the embassy building and has to be compensated for by the UK and Sweden. Both countries reject the non-binding decision.
- Before the US presidential election, Wikileaks publishes around 20,000 emails from the Democratic party machine. They come from the campaign team of the candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
- After being pardoned by Chelsea Manning, a major source of Wikileaks, the organization says Assange could face US investigations if its rights were guaranteed. Meanwhile, the Swedish public prosecutor’s office is closing the investigation against Assange.
- The British police still want to arrest him for violating his bail requirements. Assange is granted Ecuadorian citizenship, but the government in Quito fails to register diplomatic status for Assange with the British authorities. That would have enabled him to leave the embassy building without being arrested.
- Ecuador says it is looking for a mediator to end Assange’s “unsustainable” situation. An application to withdraw the arrest warrant for health reasons fails. In March, the embassy staff cut Assange’s communication access because he interfered in the affairs of other countries. A Wikileaks lawyer describes Assange’s living conditions as “inhuman”.
- In October, Ecuador imposed new rules of conduct on Assange, warning that violating the rules could result in the asylum being withdrawn. Meanwhile, a document appears in the United States allegingly secretly indicting Assange.
- Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said Assange had “repeatedly violated the conditions for his embassy asylum. On April 25, an independent human rights expert will visit Assange and assess whether the alleged violations require an investigation.
- But that doesn’t happen: On April 11, the British police arrest Assange after his asylum was withdrawn.