Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, visited in a London prison by a UN human rights lawyer and two medical experts, is reportedly in no fit psychiatric condition to stand trial. Further, the lawyer (Nils Melzer) denounced the idea of Assange’s extradition to the United States for what Melzer categorized as a “politicized show trial.”
Assange’s organization, WikiLeaks, made headlines in 2016 when it helped publicize documents apparently obtained by hackers from a private email server used by Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Her opponent, Donald Trump, said at the time, “I love WikiLeaks,” although his amorous feelings seem since to have faded.
The US is now seeking that Assange be extradited so that he can be tried not in connection with the 2016 leak, but for his role in an earlier incident.
In 2010, WikiLeaks published material provided by Chelsea Manning, including what became known as the “Collateral Murder” video, showing US airstrikes on civilian targets and the killing of a wounded man in Iraq. Manning has been imprisoned for her part in this disclosure. This is the incident behind the pending extradition request. Manning has also served a brief prison term for refusing to testify against Assange at a grand jury proceeding.
The Thing to Know:
In a statement Melser, whose official title is U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said that Assange “shows all the symptoms of a person who has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time,” and that the psychiatrist in the group described Assange’s condition as critical.