Julian Assange’s last court appearance confirmed doctors’ fears extreme stress is killing him. Now, more than 100 doctors are standing for his medical care.
Julian Assange’s last court appearance confirmed doctors’ fears extreme stress is killing him. Now, more than 100 doctors are standing for his medical care.

Doctors’ medical care plea for jailed Julian Assange

More than 100 doctors from around the world have put the Morrison government on notice that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's health is deteriorating so rapidly, he might die in jail.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister Marise Payne, the doctors have urged the government to intervene and get him medical treatment before it is too late.

"It is an extremely serious matter for an Australian citizen's survival to be endangered by a foreign government," the letter said.

Supporters of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange protest about the extradition case against him. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty
Supporters of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange protest about the extradition case against him. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty

The doctors are concerned that the psychological stress he has been under - which is akin to psychological torture is manifesting in physical ailments and he could suffer a stroke, cardiac arrest or other fatal health problem at any time.

Dr Lissa Johnson, a Sydney-based psychologist told News Corp the effects of chronic, excessive, extreme, and relentless stress on a person's physical health can be very harmful.

Dr Johnson said Assange's last appearance in court showed he was frail, confused, prematurely aged and in urgent need of medical care.

Last month more than 60 medical doctors wrote to the UK Government urging that Assange be transferred from Belmarsh maximum-security prison to a university teaching hospital for expert medical assessment and care.

The UK Government did not respond.

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Assange is being detained in one of Britain's toughest prisons Belmarsh ahead of an extradition hearing to the United States which will go ahead in February.

Assange, 48, faces 18 counts in the US including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.

Assange attracted the attention of the United States when Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of secret US documents and video about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was in London when Swedish authorities sought his extradition to assist in investigations into allegations of rape made against him by two Swedish women.

Assange had previously been told he could leave Sweden.

Assange took refuge in the Ecaduorean Embassy. Picture: Twitter
Assange took refuge in the Ecaduorean Embassy. Picture: Twitter

But when he unsuccessfully sought assurances that Sweden would not extradite him to the US, he sought and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012 on the basis that he risked human rights abuses at the hands of the United States.

There has been no extradition case to Sweden and Assange has not be charged with rape.

He was dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy earlier this year and is being held on remand ahead of the extradition hearing to the US.

 

The doctors have warned the medical risks facing Assange are inherently unpredictable.

They said his medical status is precarious, the potentially fatal medical consequences of prolonged psychological torture could strike at any time and no medical assessment protocols are capable of determining precisely when and how the damaging impacts could manifest.

The UN Special Rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer, who visited Assange earlier this year, has already said he could collapse at any moment.



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