Julian Assange: Torture victim?

Has Wikileaks founder Julian Assange suffered from “prolonged exposure to psychological torture,” leaving him unfit to stand trial or be extradited? Well, that’s the opinion of one “expert” from, wait for it… the United Nations. (Of course.) As such, it’s being suggested that the Brits refuse any requests to ship him out of the country and instead let him get on with his recovery from this horrible abuse. (BBC)

Julian Assange has suffered “prolonged exposure to psychological torture”, the UN’s torture expert has said.

Nils Melzer urged Britain not to extradite the WikiLeaks founder, warning that his human rights would be violated and that he is not fit to stand trial.

He also accused “several democratic states” of a “concerted effort to break [Assange’s] will”.

The UK government said it “disagreed with a number of his observations”.

So Melzer is the UN’s “special rapporteur on torture.” I suppose you have to bring in somebody with a title like that to explain to the unwashed masses how anything that’s happened to Assange could be construed as torture. The UK is obviously disagreeing with his conclusions and stating that they don’t condone torture, but Melzer is talking to the BBC and anyone else with a microphone saying the opposite.

But what does he characterize as torture? He describes how Assange was “deliberately isolated and… persecuted by several democratic states.”

Pardon me if I call horse hockey on this one. The time Assange spent in the Ecuadorean embassy was done entirely of his own volition. They weren’t keeping him locked up in there. At any time he wanted he could have walked out the door, had a chat with the London police and gone off to face a democratic trial and spend some time in a non-torturous prison where he could have made all sorts of new friends.

And even while he was in the embassy he wasn’t in isolation. He had regular contact with the embassy staff, enjoyed regular visits with his attorneys and entertained a host of celebrity guests. These included Pamela Anderson, Lady Gaga, Nigel Farage, and Manchester United soccer star Eric Cantona. The list goes on.

He had his food delivered to him, had his phone and, until only the final few weeks, had internet access. I agree that it’s not ideal to be cooped up in the same building for years on end, but it’s not like he was breaking big rocks into little ones at Rikers Island. And, as I said above, he was there by his own choice. The doors were never locked from the inside.

This sounds like a ploy to build up public sympathy for Assange so he can avoid extradition to either Sweden or the United States. His legal team just managed to find somebody from the UN to come to bolster their cause.