Vice News/ Motherboard: Doctor Who Evaluated Julian Assange Told UN His Confinement Was Torture

A member of a team of physicians that has evaluated Julian Assange’s medical and psychological condition over the past two years told three international human rights groups that the Wikileaks founder has sustained “negative psychological and physical effects” from his seven-year detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Motherboard has learned.

The doctor believes that the “cumulative severity of the pain and suffering inflicted on Mr. Assange—both physical and psychological—is in violation of the 1984 Convention Against Torture.”

In the last two months, the doctor, Sondra Crosby, has written letters to former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, and to the Organization of American States detailing the four evaluations she made of Assange between October 2017 and February 2019. Crosby, who specializes in refugee health and forensic medicine at Boston University and has examined nearly 1,000 torture survivors, wrote that the conditions of Assange’s confinement had “become observably worse since [her] initial visit.”

Motherboard obtained the letters from her colleague, Sean Love, a doctor at Johns Hopkins who began a project to evaluate the effects of Assange’s detainment on his health in 2017 and recruited Crosby and British psychologist Brock Chisholm to perform the evaluations. Love said that the team obtained permission from Wikileaks and Assange to publish the letters in full.

Crosby said she could not speak to Motherboard for this article; Love told Motherboard at an in-person meeting that he believes Crosby will testify on behalf of Assange’s defense in legal proceedings relating to his arrest for allegedly conspiring with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified US military cables from the Iraq War.

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