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News > U.S.

Assange's Isolation In UK Prison Risks His Life: UN Rapporteur

  • Citizens demand the release of Julian Assange, London, U.K., October 2021.

    Citizens demand the release of Julian Assange, London, U.K., October 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @_infoLibre

Published 1 November 2021

Nils Melzer argued that there is no reason to keep WikiLeaks' founder isolated in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison since he does not currently face any charges.

In an interview with Russia Today on Saturday, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer stated that the psychological problems that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces stem from the abuse he suffers in U.K. Belmarsh high-security prison.


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Melzer visited Assange at this prison in May 2019 with a team of medical experts, all of whom concluded that this activist’s life was in danger due to the constant isolation to which he was exposed.

“You cannot help someone recover from torture by torturing them more,” Melzer condemned, arguing that there is no reason to keep Assange isolated in a maximum-security prison since he does not currently face any charges.

In April 2019, Assange was arrested in London for taking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden for a baseless rape investigation or to the United States, which accuses him of 17 crimes of espionage over WikiLeaks’ publication of the U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Swedish authorities left the rape case due to lack of evidence, and the U.K. Old Bailey Court ruled that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S. because of suicide risk. However, the activist is still being held in the Belmarsh prison, where he awaits the outcome of the U.S. justice’s appeal to that British tribunal's ruling.

 “Even if we assume that Assange’s extradition is legitimate, which is not, he may be placed under house arrest until the British justice system finally decides to extradite him or not,” Melzer argued.

“Assange is a very resistant and intelligent man, who had the courage to denounce what everyone had been silent about for years. It will be a tragedy that he died in prison because of the authorities’ disregard to his condition,” Melzer concluded.

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