On February 18, 2022, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer discussed his new book, The Trial of Julian Assange, in a press briefing with the Foreign Press Association.
PA Newswire: ‘No legal basis for leaving Assange in high security prison – human rights expert’
Accusations of the psychological torture of Julian Assange have not been addressed, with no legal basis for leaving the WikiLeaks founder locked up in solitary confinement in a high security prison, a human rights expert has claimed.
Nils Melzer, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said Mr Assange’s health is being “destroyed” as he remains in Belmarsh prison in London as the United States continues to try to extradite him.
The UN official, speaking about his book The Trial Of Julian Assange, said allegations that Mr Assange hacked sensitive information were based on fabricated evidence.
He said he declined to become involved when he was first approached, shortly after Mr Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but acted after receiving medical reports.
Mr Melzer visited the WikiLeaks founder in prison, saying: “I did not expect to find torture. What I found shocked me.”
He claimed “mass violations” of Mr Assange’s human rights, which he added have not been properly addressed.
From Verso’s book listing:
“When Ecuador finally turned [Assange] over to Britain in 2019, the US immediately demanded his extradition and threatened him with 175 years in prison. Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, initially declined to get involved. Only when he visited Assange in prison and researched the facts did he begin to see through the deception and recognize the case for what it really was: the story of a political persecution.
Melzer’s findings are explosive: in all four states involved, Assange has faced grave and systematic due process violations, judicial bias, and manipulated evidence. He has been exposed to constant surveillance, defamation and threats. Melzer also gathered consolidated medical evidence proving that Assange has suffered prolonged psychological torture. Melzer’s compelling investigation shows how—through secrecy, impunity and, crucially, public indifference—unchecked power risks annihilating Western democracy and the rule of law. The case of Julian Assange sets a chilling precedent: for when telling the truth has become a crime, we will all be living in a tyranny.”