The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, could die in prison if he doesn’t get the needed medical care, claims an open letter which has been signed by more than 60 doctors.
The doctors from all over the world, including Australia, UK, Europe, and Sri Lanka, are seriously concerned about the 48-year-old Assange and his capacity to stand trial and they expressed this concern in the letter sent to the home secretary, Priti Patel.
Assange is held in the Belmarsh prison in the south-east of London and awaits a hearing in February for extradition to the US where he would face 18 charges, including a conspiracy to hack into a computer in the Pentagon.
Assange has been accused of working with Chelsea Manning, former US army intelligence analyst to leak classified documents.
The doctors urge the authorities to transfer Assange to a university teaching hospital where he could be properly examined and treated by medical experts.
Julian Assange’s Health Is Aggravating
The letter explains that from a medical point of view and from the data available, there are serious worries about the ability of Assange to stand the trial scheduled for February, 2020.
They claim that Assange needs expert medical assessment of his mental and physical health. If these urgent measures aren’t taken, they claim that Assange may die in prison. There is no time to lose, they explain, and the medical situation is urgent.
Assange has been in jail for 50 weeks for breaching bail conditions after he went and hid in the Ecuadorian embassy in London so that he avoids extradition to Sweden due to allegations for sex offence, which the founder of WikiLeaks has always denied.
He’s been in custody from the dramatic removal from the building back in April and on the hearing last month, Assange was struggling to say his own name and said to the court: ‘I can’t think properly.’
According to Dr. Lissa Johnson, clinical psychologist from Australia and one of the signatories of the letter, considering Assange’s rapid decline of health in the Belmarsh prison, he needs transfer to a university hospital to get the required specialized care.
An independent medical assessment is required to see if Assange is medically fit for pending legal proceedings.
Johnson further claims that the UK, with its commitment to human rights and the rule of law, must hear the warning of medical professionals and transfer the accused to an expert hospital before it all becomes too late.