WikiLeaks: ‘Embassy stay risks Assange’s mental health’

WikiLeaks has released medical records claiming its founder Julian Assange's mental health is at risk if he remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

WikiLeaks: 'Embassy stay risks Assange's mental health'
Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The organization released the records on Thursday ahead of a court ruling in Sweden to decide whether to maintain an arrest warrant for him.

READ ALSO: Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

More than four years since Assange moved into the Ecuadorian embassy to escape extradition to Sweden – where he faces a police investigation into rape claims – WikiLeaks argued his confinement there needed to be brought to an end as a matter of urgency.

“Mr Assange's mental health is highly likely to deteriorate over time if he remains in his current situation… It is urgent that his current circumstances are resolved as quickly as possible,” said a report published by the organization on Twitter.

The 27-page medical report is attributed to an unnamed “trauma and psychosocial expert” in London and dated December 11th, 2015.

It comes ahead of a decision expected on Friday morning by a Swedish appeals court on whether to maintain an arrest warrant for Assange over the rape accusation.

The judges will decide whether to grant Assange's request to hear legal arguments on the European arrest warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors in 2010.

Separately, Assange has agreed to answer questions from Swedish investigators from October 17th in Ecuador's embassy.

The newly-released medical report, accompanied by supporting documents, is said to be based on interviews with Assange and includes comments from others at the embassy.

According to the report, Assange often goes up to 22 hours without sleeping, although he has access to a treadmill for physical exercise.

“Until June 2015, Mr Assange felt himself to be resilient but significantly degraded…,” the report said.

“Since June 2015, however, his physical condition has deteriorated due to limited range of movement, inability to exercise normally and constant pain,” it added, quoting the unnamed expert.

Medical complains outlined in the report and also the records included pain in his right shoulder and dental pain from a fractured tooth.

One of Assange's colleagues was also quoted as saying that it had been difficult to find doctors willing to examine the WikiLeaks founder at the embassy.


Spanish ring ‘tried to extort €3m from Wikileaks’: Assange lawyers

Julian Assange's lawyers have filed a court complaint in Spain against a group of Spaniards they allege extorted the WikiLeaks founder and Ecuador's foreign ministry, a source in his defence team said on Saturday.

Spanish ring 'tried to extort €3m from Wikileaks': Assange lawyers
A video grab shows Julian Assange being driven away by British police after his arrest. Photo: AFP
Assange, who for seven years lived holed up in London's Ecuadoran embassy where he had taken refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape accusations, was arrested on April 11 after Quito terminated his asylum.
The 47-year-old founder of WikiLeaks, which exposed everything from US military secrets to the wealthy's tax evasion, is now awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said the complaint was against “a group of Spaniards who allegedly engaged in extortion and the embassy's employees and Ecuador's foreign ministry.”
The source added an investigation was ongoing and alleged “espionage” in the embassy against Assange, refusing to give further details.
According to Spanish media reports, four Spaniards have videos and personal documents of Assange. Online daily said they somehow got these via an alleged spying system set up in the embassy that included security cameras and employees taking photos of all documents handled by Assange.
They allegedly tried to extort three million euros ($3.3 million) out of WikiLeaks not to publish any of it, Spanish media report., which had access to the written complaint that was filed to Spain's top-level National Court, says Assange's lawyers also accuse Ecuador of spying on him. The National Court could not comment when contacted by AFP.
That contrasts with Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno's version of events. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, he alleged Assange had tried to set up a “centre for spying” in Ecuador's embassy.
Last year, Quito cut his internet and mobile phone access, accusing him of breaking “a written commitment” not to interfere in its and allies' foreign policies.
The move infuriated Assange, who sued the government for violating his “fundamental rights” by limiting his access to the outside world.
Now in prison in Britain, Assange is also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.