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julian assange w/un special rapporteur on torture

by:Marslite     2019-10-11
Chris Hirsch and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Niles melze, discussed Julian Assange\'s detention conditions, psychological and physical health, and judicial proceedings against Assange.
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Com/OnContactRTPodcast: welcome to contact.
Today, we discussed justice and psychological persecution by Julian Assange with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Niles melze.
He was deprived of this position. -
Arrested by British police and deported from the embassy.
After six years at the embassy, less than three hours later, he was taken to court and sent to the British court. -
He was found guilty at a hearing that lasted about 15 minutes.
After about 15 minutes of his preparation for the defense in a very excited state, he was arrested after six years at the embassy, and he and his lawyer had only one hour to prepare for the defense.
CH: After spending nearly seven years at the embassy, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuador embassy in London by British police two months ago.
He and 50-
Maximum sentence imposed for breach of bail
Belmarsh prison in London
He was transferred to the prison hospital last week due to poor health.
He was unable to attend his first trial via a video link.
Assange\'s physical and psychological state, including a sharp drop in weight and difficulty in speaking, emerged as the UN rapporteur on torture, and Niles melzeb reported that, assange suffered a long psychological ordeal.
Melzer went on to criticize what he called the judicial persecution of Assange by Britain, the United States, Ecuador and Sweden.
He warned that if Assange was extradited to face 17 charges under the spy act for issuing confidential military and diplomatic cables and documents, he would face a political display trial by the United States, and a video of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If convicted, Assange will receive £ 170.
Years in prison.
Join me in discussing from Vienna the conditions under which Assange was detained, his mental and physical health, and the judicial process against Assange, who is nil Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture.
So Niles, let\'s start.
On May 9, you visited Julian, accompanied by two doctors specializing in psychological torture.
What did you find? Thank you for inviting me.
Yes, in fact, on May 9, I was able to visit Mr.
Assange at Bell Marsh Prison
I was accompanied by two medical experts, a forensic expert and a psychiatrist.
Both of them are good at identifying, checking and recording traces of psychological and physical torture.
What we found
Assange shows all the typical symptoms of a person who has suffered psychological torture for a long time.
We are talking about severe trauma, chronic anxiety, intense persistent stress, and inability to relax, focus, and think in a structured straight line.
So, a constant super
The stage of stimulation, can\'t--
No more relaxation.
CH: What are the physical and psychological? term and long-
The term effect, and what you attribute this psychological torture to, because you really blame it on four different governments. NM: Right.
Obviously, you know, psychological torture has all sorts of consequences.
It is difficult to predict exactly how the situation will develop.
What we have now seen during my visit has been shocking, and since then we have seen his health status deteriorate dramatically, as predicted by the psychiatrist who accompanied me on the visit. What would--
It is clear that in the extension of this situation, it can even cause irreversible damage on the physical level. First on the--
At the psychological and emotional level, but also at the physical level, this can lead to nervous collapse and even actually lead to cardiovascular damage that is no longer reversible.
But it\'s hard to predict this accurately, and obviously I\'m not a doctor myself, so I don\'t want to guess where this is going.
What we see today is
Assange has no longer been able to attend his own trial.
Now, how can we attribute this to the four countries mentioned in my report?
Assange is in his--in the--
In his room at the Ecuador embassy.
Therefore, he is exposed to a very controlled environment in which his chances of reaching out to the outside world are becoming more and more limited.
Therefore, the factors that may lead to such serious consequences can basically be highly determined, because there are no other external factors that we do not know.
We know very well what he is exposed.
So, here I have identified the four main factors that I think affect him.
One of them, of course, is that the United States is trying to extradite Assange and be able to sue him, and it seems to me that after looking at the records, it is also necessary to do an example for him, to prevent others from imitating what Assange and WikiLeaks have done in exposing the great, you know, a lot of compromise information about the United States. And once--
In the past decade, there has been an elephant in this room with the case. And from this--
Around this narrative, we have seen other judicial proceedings against Mr. Assange.
I think it\'s important to see
Assange was concerned from the very beginning about being extradited to the United States, where he was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
I can say more about this in a moment, but once we realize that he has this credible fear, obviously he will not expose himself. -
He may be extradited to the United States.
Therefore, when the Swede brings a legal action or preliminary investigation against him for sexual assault, it is important to know that once the complainant notifies the police immediately after that, before the public is informed, the public was told that Assange had never actually been questioned by the police, and that he was aware of the allegations in the media.
He was in Sweden at the time and immediately went to the police station and said, \"I can\'t make my statement and participate in it,\" because Swedish law actually prohibits the publication of the names of the complainant and suspect in sexual assault cases.
His statement was adopted, and two or three days later the prosecutor concluded the case, stating that there was no evidence that any offence had been committed.
Now, just a day or two later, another prosecutor and Mr. reopened it.
Assange, who volunteered to stay in Sweden for three weeks, said, \"I can be prosecuted for any questions you ask.
\"When he made a promise in London that he had to leave, he asked the prosecutor if he was allowed to leave, which was confirmed, so he was authorized to leave the country.
When he was basically in the UK, Sweden began to ask ---
He was issued an arrest warrant and claimed that he was trying to avoid arrest in order to avoid the problem.
They sent him back to Sweden for questioning. And then Mr.
Assange became a little skeptical and asked, \"Well, I thought we had solved the problem,\" What is the problem, \"and he was worried that he was just being recalled, so Sweden can hand him over to the United States.
Here I have to open a bracket.
We must know that Sweden has a history of surrender to the CIA without any due process in Sweden.
On 2001, I believe that Sweden handed over two Egyptian nationals recognized as asylum seekers to the Central Intelligence Agency in Sweden, but without any due process, they were flown to Egypt and there
So Assange has a credible fear that this could happen to him.
He therefore asked Sweden to guarantee that they would not extradite him to the United States if he came to inquire about sexual assault cases.
Sweden has refused to provide this guarantee.
Then Assange said, \"I will not come to Sweden if you can\'t guarantee it, but I will accept your inquiry through the video link,\" Sweden refused, although they do so in multiple other cases at the same time.
Then Assange said, \"If you want ---
Don\'t want to ask me through the video link, you can come down to London and ask me in the presence of my lawyer. \" And the--
Sweden again refused to do so and insisted on his extradition to Sweden without guarantee-
Against further extradition to the United States
So that\'s why it\'s important to understand that, and that\'s why SirAssange was--
In the extradition procedure of the Embassy of Ecuador seeking asylum--
In the Supreme Court of England, he has no affection for Sweden.
So once he was ready to be extradited to Sweden, he fled to the embassy of Ecuador, not because he did not want to face the Swedish charges, but because he did not want to be further extradited to the United States.
I think it is also important to note that the alleged rape charges are by no means alleged rape charges, you know, rape in Sweden and the world in English or any other language.
I know what I\'m talking about because I do speak Swedish. So, what this--
This rape charge refers to a crime that does not involve any violence.
So basically, he was accused or accused of deliberately tearing the condom during voluntary sexual intercourse with the woman.
She said it was intentional. He said it was accidental.
It is foreseeable that no one can prove it.
The evidence presented to the prosecution-condoms-has actually been examined and there is no DNA on it from him, anyone or the complainant.
So it seems to be just a new condom that is presented as evidence against him.
So there was no evidence that he had committed any crime.
Nevertheless, Swedish law also prohibits the prosecution from openly talking about sexual assault under investigation and they have basically informed the public from day one
Assange is suspected of rape.
This is clearly a misleading charge.
They refused, too. -
They went out of their way, really, sir.
Assange from-
Without simultaneously making his voice and publicly defending himself, extradite himself to the United States, where, he has a credible fear of being seriously violated by his human rights there. So--
The whole story is very important because he spent seven years at the Ecuador embassy.
We\'re going to take a break, but before I do, would you argue that this is part of a coordinated judicial prosecution? These terms are used together between Sweden, Ecuador, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Initially, Ecuador was apparently--
Provided him with asylum and asylum status, but not part of it, but some emails have been issued, and the UK crime prosecution actually encourages Swedes not to \"back down\" when they want to close the investigation \", and keep the pressure on himAssange.
In terms of the manner in which the investigation is conducted, I do not see how the prosecutor maintains such an investigation, carries out a preliminary investigation without making an allegation, and unless there is some ulterior motive, there is no evidence. CH: Great.
When we return, we will continue to talk about Julian Assange with the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Niles melze.
Welcome to contact again.
We continue our dialogue with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Niles Melzer, on Julian Assange.
So, talk about your concerns about extradition.
You are a lawyer, I believe.
Also, legally, he is now serving 50-
Sentenced to a week in jail
So, whether it\'s from a legal point of view, what\'s happening to him now, or your concerns about extradition to the United States.
Well, first of all, I think it is important to understand that the sentence he is serving now is related to his breach of the conditions of bail established by the British court at that time on the Swedish extradition request.
Sweden therefore requested his extradition for sexual assault cases.
Then, when he was about to be extradited, he violated the conditions of bail, sought asylum granted to him by the state of Ecuador, and maintained for nearly seven years.
So when the President of Ecuador decides that one day he will . . . . . . CH: Let me interrupt. It\'s an--
The president has changed.
This is Lenin Moreno. NM: Right.
Lenin Moreno was elected in 2017.
So, when he comes to the office, he seeks more, you know, to engage with the United States and to build a better relationship with the United States.
You know, part of this seems to be the extradition of Assange to the United States.
Accordingly, Moreno decided one day that he would terminate Julian Assange\'s asylum status and, on the same day in April 11, without any declaration, without any due process
He was deprived of this position. -
Arrested by British police and deported from the embassy.
After six years at the embassy, less than three hours later, he was taken to court and brought to the British court ---
He was found guilty at a hearing that lasted about 15 minutes.
After about 15 minutes of his preparation for the defense in a very excited state, he was arrested after six years at the embassy, and he and his lawyer had only one hour to prepare for the defense.
During the lawyer--the legal--
During the hearing, the defense lawyer submitted a document to the judge saying that one of the judges had a strong conflict of interest due to the exposure of her husband by WikiLeaks.
So there is a conflict of interest that needs to be investigated, so he is against this hearing.
It was clear that the judge ignored the matter and immediately said, I-
You know, he complained, \"defense lawyer, how dare you accuse one of our judges of a conflict of interest . \"
Assange, who called him from narcis, could not surpass himself. interest.
Now, at the hearing, you have to know
Assange said nothing but \"I admit not guilty.
So how could he be a self-narcis who can\'t surpass himself?
Therefore, it is clear that the judge presented prejudice, prejudice against him in court and showed obvious prejudice against him. Assange.
Now, at a later sentencing hearing, I think this is 1st possible, and he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison, the longest one-year imprisonment you can get in violation of the bail. And the court--
The judge said it was one of the most serious violations of bail conditions imaginable.
Despite the fact that the lawyers again submitted a thick document containing the circumstances to mitigate the penalty, they said, \"Look, sir.
Assange\'s concerns about extradition to the United States are credible.
\"So, he apologized for violating the bail, but he just explained why he did it and he was actually sheltered by a country for more than six years.
The judge actually refused to consider this as a mitigating circumstance and sentenced him to a sentence close to the highest.
So again, this shows the improper sentence and prejudice against him, in which case a breach of bail usually results in a fine, and perhaps in very serious cases, in short term imprisonment.
So that\'s what we saw in the British court.
Now, again, the elephant in the room is extradited to the United States, and it is very important here that we talk about the risks he will face when he is extradited to the United States.
Personally, I believe he has no chance of a fair trial in the United States.
Why do I say that? A fair trial certainly requires a presumption of innocence.
Now, I don\'t have to explain to you what the public\'s perception of their Julian Assange in the United States, after nearly a decade of freedom, is intimidating, asking to assassinate him, and incited violence against him.
He was ridiculed by the public. He has--by--
You know, including serving officials and former government officials through prominent people.
So he was exposed to an unrestricted public siege campaign. And the--so there is--
It is difficult for him to get a fair and just court hearing.
The fair trial also required the legality of his prosecution for punishment.
Now, if you look at 17 of the 18 allegations that were made under the Espionage Act, all of which are related to any activity that the investigative journalist is going to carry out, I believe these activities will be protected as the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States under freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
Then 18 charges, so-
Known as a hacker charge, has nothing to do with him. -
It is not claimed that he actually hacked a computer to receive the information, but he got all the information posted by a person with full authority.
Therefore, as any other investigative journalist who has just received this information, he may, like any journalist, encourage a source to give it to him and then publish it.
The hacking charge is only related to his attempt to help the source crack the password that will allow her to cover up her marks and footprints.
But he did not succeed, so he did not do any harm.
Then, I believe the maximum sentence for such a crime will be about five years.
It is now clear that if this is not an unsuccessful attempt, if punished, it will be a lower range of five years\' imprisonment or even a fine.
Now, I don\'t see any political possibility.
Assange will be acquitted in the United States, or you--
You know, for example, he would be sentenced to six weeks in prison and he would be released.
I think it\'s totally unrealistic, especially when we see a particular court,
Known as a spy court in the east. -
In eastern Virginia, where he was accused.
My understanding is that no defendant was acquitted on national security charges.
We have seen Chelsea Manning, who is in fact the source of information released by Assange, who was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison and usually sentenced to a major war criminal in The Hague.
Fortunately, in the last week of Obama, she was pardoned. -of his--in office.
But it shows the kind of sentence that might be given to Assange.
It should be noted that a fair trial requires equality before the law.
Now, when a government is suing a whistleblower, let alone a reporter, for exposing the serious acts of government agents, I am talking about war crimes.
These war crimes have not been prosecuted at all, but the sources are being prosecuted and face the punishment of life imprisonment, the worst of which is the death penalty.
And then there\'s something--
The government really lost any credibility in terms of law, morality and politics, in my--that\'s where--
Why do I say prosecution becomes persecution because there is no longer the rule of law.
There is no equality before the law.
When you have a secret, you know, there is no transparent court process when the grand jury and the secret meeting debate the confidential evidence. It\'s--
These proceedings have fundamentally distorted the accused, and I don\'t think Julian Assange will get a fair trial in the United States.
First of all, I would like to point out that first, he is not an American citizen.
He is an Australian citizen.
While I think Australia is a bit of a loss in terms of protecting Australian citizens, as you have pointed out.
Secondly, WikiLeaks is a news agency that is not in the United States.
So I think there are even legal issues that can be charged against him under the Espionage Act.
Again, as a lawyer, I\'m going to ask you, do you think Julian Assange committed a crime: Personally, I--
From the evidence I see, I don\'t think so.
Maybe you can. -you know--
You know, the interpretation of the criminal code is also--
Always leave some room for appreciation for the judge.
To be fair, I think that if all the charges are shown to have something to do with the attempt you know, you may constitute a slight offense ---
Tried to help someone break the code but failed.
It\'s kind of like charging people who try to exceed the speed limit but don\'t succeed because the car is too weak.
From a procuratorial point of view, I don\'t think it makes sense, even if it\'s theoretically possible--
You can build some kind of criminal energy, which I don\'t think makes sense at all.
This certainly does not justify the kind of pain he has experienced, which he may face when he is extradited to the United States.
CH: I just want to point out that as a former investigative reporter for The New York Times, we do help our sources try to protect themselves.
This is a standard agreement.
NM: I just wanted to give an example that has nothing to do with this case for comparison.
We recently had two Reuters journalists jailed for exposing the massacre of civilians by Burmese soldiers.
They were, I think, sentenced to ten years\' imprisonment and one and a half years\' imprisonment and then pardoned.
At the same time, however, Myanmar has actually prosecuted the soldiers involved and sentenced them to seven years\' imprisonment, or instead, they have been sentenced to 10 persons, others have been sentenced to seven persons, but have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment, they were also pardoned a year later.
But they sued the soldiers.
Now, America has a long way to go.
As far as I know, they did not sue anyone for the attached murder video or the Senate committee report on torture.
This is a very good point.
Chelsea Manning, the man who exposed the war crimes, Julian Assange-
We have a lot of whistleblowers, especially during the Obama administration, who are trying to expose the government\'s malpractices, fraud and criminal acts, and they are all persecuted under the Espionage Act.
So I think all your concerns about the US judicial system are very effective.
I just want to end, we have a few seconds left, and at this moment in Julian Assange, what would you recommend to be the right treatment: Well, it seems to me, obviously, in the current circumstances, extradition to the United States is impossible.
Britain, Sweden and Ecuador must recognize this when dealing with this incident.
They clearly violated the convention against torture.
They should release him. Assange. I--
They may question him about the sexual assault, but frankly, I don\'t think there is ---
There\'s really a lot behind this.
If any, I think he has suffered more abuse than his share, he should be released, he should be compensated and he should be fixed by those countries.
This is the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Niles Melzer.
Thank you very much, Niles.
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