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UN expert worries about Assange: possible torture in the USA

The UN rapporteur on torture has appealed to the British government to suspend the possible extradition of the founder of the Wikileaks whistleblowing platform, Julian Assange, to the USA.

Assange's arguments must be examined in detail on the basis of considerable concern that he would be exposed to the risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment in the event of extradition, Alice Jill Edwards announced in Geneva on Tuesday. A hearing will be held at the High Court in London on February 21 and 22.

The USA is demanding extradition because it wants to bring Assange to justice. They accuse him of stealing and publishing secret material from military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. They are said to have endangered the lives of whistleblowers. In the USA, Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison. Supporters see him as a courageous journalist who brought war crimes to light. Assange evaded the authorities for several years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He has been in a British high-security prison since April 2019.

Assange had been suffering from depression for a long time and was suicidal, Edwards said. American assurances that he would be treated humanely were not enough. Among other things, they were not binding.

UN rapporteurs are independent experts who work free of charge. Edwards was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.


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