Since then, Doctors for Assange has repeatedly warned that Mr. Assange’s documented human rights abuse, including his detention in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison1It is detrimental to your health and your very survival. Our notices have included letters to governments, press releases, public statements and interviews, as well as two appeals in the prominent medical journal. The Lancet. Various lawyers and politicians have made reference to our concern in the media.
At present, a year later, the torture and the null medical attention of Assange far from being reduced have intensified. He remains arbitrarily deprived of his liberty in Belmarsh Prison, as determined by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, imprisoned for carrying out a journalistic activity that was legal when and where it took place and that continues to be so. For the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Assange is at risk of dying and is a victim of psychological torture.
Priti Pavel’s Home Office did not respond directly to our letter, but did make a statement to the press on November 25, 2019: “The allegations of the alleged torture to which Julian Assange would be subjected are baseless and completely false. . The UK is committed to the principle of legality and ensures that no one is above this principle ”.
Let’s be clear: when Doctors for Assange wrote to the interior minister, Mr. Assange had already been assessed as a victim of psychological torture and continues to be. It was not just that he had been tortured, but that he was being subjected to continuous torture, as is the case to this day.
The British government has held Assange in Belmarsh High Security Prison in deference to an extradition request from the US government based on controversial political allegations that are unprecedented, all in retaliation for his worthy public interest journalism. of awards. Julian Assange is quite simply a political prisoner of the “special relationship” between the UK and the US.
And yet none of the medical and psychological conditions detailed in our first letter have been adequately addressed. Nor has the Australian government intervened in defense of its citizen despite our request and other similar requests.
Assange not only remains in isolation, in a solitary confinement that has recently been increased from 23 to 24 hours. His life is in danger from COVID-19 given his chronic lung disease and probable immunosuppression due to prolonged psychological torture. It meets all international criteria for the release of prisoners vulnerable to the sight of covid-19. Despite this, he has been denied urgent bail even though the penitentiary ward in which he is held had cases of covid-19 in November 2020. Both his mother and his sentimental partner have justifiably expressed that they fear for his life .
At Doctors for Assange we share these fears, based on numerous medical considerations, and we want to commemorate the year since that first letter by renewing our call for Julian Assange to be released from captivity immediately.
Predictable medical and psychological harm
Given his continued torture and the lack of medical attention to which he is subjected, it is not uncommon for the court where the hearings for his extradition took place in September 2020 to hear evidence of serious psychological and medical suffering, which entails high suicide risk. In fact, various medical experts testified that Assange suffers from many of the medical, psychological and cognitive symptoms that Doctors for Assange has reported for the past twelve months.
Given the continued abuses of the right to health to which Mr. Assange is subjected despite our warnings, it was foreseeable that the court would hear in September that the accused suffers from severe depression, trauma, suicide risk and cognitive deficiencies that They affect your concentration, memory, and verbal expression.
In a widely circulated letter to the Australian government in December 2019, Doctors for Assange stated that Assange’s treatment by governments and judicial and prison authorities (arbitrariness, constant fear, threats and trauma and prolonged isolation)
* It could cause you “extreme helplessness, despair and destabilization, all of which are suicide-related”
* could cause “the very desire to live to be fatally weakened”.
* “Can cause severe cognitive impairment, including attention, memory and concentration deficits”, which affects “the person’s ability to reason, think and speak.”
Vulnerable to psychic damage
The court also heard that Assange suffers from psychosis in the form of hallucinations, something very worrying, also for any person or for any authority that has a duty to ensure the health of Assange, since it is known that the conditions of his detention can precipitate psychosis. Members of Doctors for Assange have warned in public statements and interviews that prolonged isolation, such as the Assange tax, can lead to hallucinations and psychosis in vulnerable individuals.
The court also heard that Assange is vulnerable not only to hallucinations and COVID-19, but also to depression and suicide. Several experts testified that Assange has a history of depression and hallucinations, a family history of suicide, and has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), specifically Aspergen syndrome. The experts explained to the court that the diagnosis of ASD puts him at a risk of suicide nine times higher than the average.
Vulnerable to suicide
Based on medical evidence, Doctors for Assange agrees with expert witnesses that Julian Assange has a high probability of succumbing to suicidal impulses if extradition to the US is confirmed.However, this does not mean that current conditions of their detention, which constitutes an “arbitrary deprivation of liberty” according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, does not in itself pose a substantial risk.
Doctors for Assange would like to add that their vulnerability to suicide has been compounded by the medical neglect that we have repeatedly documented and reported. Physical illness is known to increase the risk of suicide, especially when multiple ailments come together. The prolongation of Julian Assange’s medical abandonment by keeping him locked up in Belmarsh Prison (rather than releasing him so that he can receive appropriate medical treatment) constitutes an additional risk to his psychological and mental health, with potentially fatal consequences.
Vulnerable physical damage
In March 2020 Doctors for Assange issued a statement detailing Assange’s medical vulnerability to COVID-19.
In the Old Bailey court it was also said Assange broke a rib while tying his shoelaces and that he suffers from osteoporosis. Doctors for Assange had already warned of the possibility that Julian Assange would have bone problems after being forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy and live for so many years without receiving sunlight, getting enough exercise or enough medical care.
Duty to care
Given his vulnerability, the authorities and governments responsible for Assange’s well-being have a duty and responsibility to avoid actions that could further damage his physical and psychological health. Despite the fact that a witness for the prosecution maintained that if the doctors treating him did not recommend his hospital admission his symptoms could not be serious, the available evidence indicates precisely the opposite: that these recommendations were made, for example, in September 2015, in January 2018 and in June 2018. Even that need was documented in our letter to the British government of November 2019 and is one of the reasons for our letters to The
Lancet, in which we made reference to the torture and medical neglect of Mr. Assange, instruments used to mistreat him and cause his suffering, of which many officials are accomplices.
Our medical recommendations
In view of the medical evidence and the growing record of Assange’s psychological torture and lack of medical care, it is up to the British government authorities, including those directly responsible for his medical care, to refrain from placing him in a situation highest risk in a high security prison, being as he is a non-violent person in pretrial detention, with no pending charges under British law and who has been detained exclusively for controversial political offenses under the archaic and draconian US Espionage Act. 1917.
Therefore, Doctors for Assange joins leading world authorities in the field of human rights and press freedom in calling for Assange’s release from prison and the refusal to extradite him for his publishing activity. At the very least, Julian Assange should urgently be placed under house arrest for medical reasons, consistent with his human right to life and health and consistent with the inviolable medical obligation not to cause harm.
Doctors for Assange brings together doctors from around the world who came together in October 2019 to make public their concern for the health of Julian Assange and to condemn the violations of his right to be free from torture, his right to health and his right to doctor-patient confidentiality. Se web is www.doctorsassange.org
1. Belmarsh Prison is known as “the mansion of monsters” due to the number of dangerous murderers and rapists it contains (N. del T.).