An independent UN rights expert Nils Melzer on Friday warned that the conditions WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being held in are putting his life “at-risk”.
Melzer, said in a statement, “Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, 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”.
Melzer, who visited the 48-year-old Australian in a London prison on May 9, nearly a month after his arrest at Ecuador’s embassy, has previously warned he was being subjected to drawn-out ‘psychological torture’.
A spokesperson said that the independent expert, who does not speak on behalf of the United Nations, had not met Assange since then but had received ‘updates’ about his condition.
His statement came after Assange’s health had continued to deteriorate since his arrest, stressing that ‘his life was now at risk.’
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”.
In April this year, UK police arrested Assange after the South American nation revoked the political asylum that had protected him in the embassy, and he was brought before a British court — the first step in an extradition battle that he has vowed to fight.
Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He refused to leave the embassy, fearing arrest and extradition to the US for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
He has been facing the extradition request by the US over charges he violated the US Espionage Act by publishing a huge cache of military and diplomatic files in 2010.
(With AFP inputs)