The treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is facing the threat of extradition from Britain to the US on espionage charges, is putting his life “at risk”, an independent UN rights expert said yesterday.
“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Nils Melzer, said in a statement.
Melzer, who visited the 48-year-old 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, has previously warned he was being subjected to drawn-out “psychological torture”.
The independent expert, who does not speak on behalf of the United Nations, has not met Assange since, but he told AFP in an email that his growing concern was based on “new medically relevant information received from several reliable sources.”
This information, he said, indicated that “Mr Assange’s health has entered a downward spiral of progressively severe anxiety, stress and helplessness typical for persons exposed to prolonged isolation and constant arbitrariness.”