UK

Assange May Die in Prison If He Does Not Get Medical Attention Now

By Victor Westerkamp

Over 60 medics have expressed their concerns over Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange’s health and urge British authorities to have him transferred to a hospital lest he would die in prison.

In an open letter addressed to Home Secretary Priti Patel and cc-ed to Patel’s political counterpart Diane Abbott, over 60 doctors from Europe, Britain, Sri Lanka, and Australia expressed their concerns over Assange’s physical and mental health. The physicians seriously question whether Assange would be fit enough to stand trial.

“From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr. Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020,” it said.

“Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr. Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr. Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”

The signatories further attested that Assange suffered from dental issues, depression, and a painful shoulder. Moreover, the medics expressed their concerns about Assange’s health, asserting he shows all the signs of having been subjected to torture over an extended period.

“We all came to the conclusion that he showed all the symptoms that are typical for a person that has been exposed to psychological torture over an extended period of time,” the letter says.

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on April 11, 2019. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Swedish prosecutors dropped their rape investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, because “evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”

Investigations into the sexual assault charges stemmed back to 2010 when the 48-year-old Assange, during his stay in Stockholm, allegedly raped and abused two women. Assange has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual.

However, in 2012, the elusive Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to the United States, who also wanted Assange for crimes of treason and espionage.

When Ecuadorian officials lifted his protective status, Assange was arrested by Scotland Yard on April 11, 2019. Swedish prosecutors, who had dropped their preliminary investigation into the rape allegations back in 2017, reopened their investigation in May, knowing the statute of limitations for the sexual assault will expire in August 2020.

Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gather at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, England, on June 14, 2019. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Swedish prosecuting authorities at the time said: “The preliminary investigation concerning allegations against Julian Assange was resumed on 13 May 2019 after Assange left the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

English authorities also wanted Assange for jumping bail and sentenced him to the Belmarsh prison in London for 50 weeks. After serving his time in Belmarsh, there remains the threat of extradition to the United States.

A spokesman for Assange’s legal team said: “From the outset of Sweden’s preliminary investigation, Julian Assange’s expressed concern has been that waiting in the wings was a United States extradition request that would be unstoppable from Sweden—and result in his spending the rest of his life in a U.S. prison.”