Supporters of Julian Assange hold placards in protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Tolga Akmen/AFP
Julian Assange has been subjected to drawn-out "psychological torture", a UN rights expert said Friday, accusing the United States, Britain, Ecuador and Sweden of "collective persecution" of the WikiLeaks founder.
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Nils Melzer, also warned that if London agrees to an extradition request from Washington, Assange risked the death penalty.
Melzer visited the Australian whistleblower in a London prison on May 9, nearly a month after his arrest at Ecuador's embassy where he had been holed up for seven years.
Julian Assange. File Photo
"It was obvious that Mr Assange's health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years," Melzer said in a statement.
"Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma," he said.
Melzer, who was accompanied on the visit by two medical experts specialised in examining potential torture victims, said there was "overwhelming" evidence that Assange had been "deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
"The cumulative effects," he said, "can only be described as psychological torture."
Assange, 47, sought refuge at Ecuador's embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual assault.
He is currently serving a separate 50-week sentence at London's Belmarsh prison for skipping bail.
Assange now also has an extradition request against him from the US, which has charged him with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing a huge cache of military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a journalist.
Their meeting came during a marathon multi-country tour by Khalilzad, who is to visit Qatar — the usual venue for talks with the Taliban.
Syrian government air strikes killed 18 civilians, including a dozen people at a busy market, as fierce fighting raged for the militant-held northwest, a war monitor said on Wednesday.
Sweden reopened an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday and said it would seek his extradition from Britain.
North Korea has asked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to deal with the “illegal” seizure of one of its cargo ships by the United States, state media said on Saturday. “This act of dispossession has clearly indicated that the United States
The UAE government has announced that the number of COVID-19 tests has broken the two million mark, reaching 2,044,493 screenings as part of the national plan to intensify coronavirus detection.
The two Philippine Overseas Labour Offices (POLOs) in the UAE have resumed the acceptance of new applicants for the one-time COVID19 pandemic-related cash aid to all displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) around the world.
Technology doesn’t alone solve cyber-security challenges as processes and procedures are needed alongside continuous awareness campaigns to ensure that workplaces remain secure, said experts during an e-Discussion.
The two states on Monday joined the less populous Western Australia and South Australia states and the Northern Territory in resuming face-to-face learning, instead of studying from home online.