Socialist Worker

UN rapporteur—Assange’s life ‘at risk’ in prison

Issue No. 2679

A still from video footage released by WikiLeaks showing the murder of Iraqi civilians

A still from video footage released by WikiLeaks showing the murder of Iraqi civilians


An independent United Nations rights expert has warned that the conditions WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being held in are putting his life “at risk”.

“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,” Nils Melzer said on Friday.

Melzer is the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Assange appeared confused at a recent court hearing. He struggled to recall his name and age.

He faces extradition from Britain to the United States on espionage charges—and long jail terms for showing the reality of brutal US wars.

In 2010 Assange’s WikiLeaks website released about 470,000 classified military documents concerning US diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Don’t send Julian Assange to the US – and don’t trivialise rape allegation
Don’t send Julian Assange to the US – and don’t trivialise rape allegation
  Read More

It later released a further 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

Many of these were obtained by former US soldier Chelsea Manning.

She spent seven years in jail and has this year been jailed and fined again for refusing to name those who helped her.

Assange should not be sent to the US.

But it can’t be ignored that he has faced accusations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

Two women made allegations against him in 2010.

Over the course of the last few months, seven witness interviews have been conducted by Swedish authorities as part of the investigation concerning Assange.

An analysis of this material is now underway, after which the public prosecutor will decide how to proceed with the case.

Assange should face trial in Sweden if those who made the complaint continue with it.

But he should not be sent to the US. To do so would punish someone for exposing imperial slaughter.


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