U.N. Rapporteur: Julian Assange Has Faced Psychological Torture; He Should Not Be Extradited to U.S.

Democracy Now!

Nov 22, 2019

This week Swedish prosecutors dropped an investigation into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, stemming from 2010. Assange, who has always denied the allegations, took refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden on the charges. British authorities dragged him out of the Ecuadorean embassy in April and he has since been jailed in London’s Belmarsh prison on charges related to skipping of bail in 2012, when he first entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over the now-dropped sexual assault charges. The United States is still seeking Assange’s extradition to the U.S., where he faces up to 175 years in prison on hacking charges and 17 counts of violating the World War I-era Espionage Act for his role in publishing U.S. classified military and diplomatic documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. A full extradition hearing will take place in February. We air remarks by U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who says his initial position of skepticism toward Assange’s case changed as he began to look more deeply at the evidence and charges against him. “As I scratched the surface a little bit, immediately, things did not add up with the images I had in my mind of this man,” Melzer said in a recent talk at Columbia University. “The deeper I got into this, the more fabrication I saw.”

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