A 117-strong group doctors and psychologists has called for an end to what it calls the “psychological torture” and “medical neglect” of Julian Assange.

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The WikiLeaks founder is being held in Belmarsh Prison awaiting a hearing on February 24 which could see him extradited to the US.

In a 1,200-word letter published in the medical journal The Lancet, the Doctors For Assange group expresses concern over his fitness for the legal proceedings.
The letter states that Assange is in a “dire state” of health due to the effects of “prolonged psychological torture” in both the Ecuadorian embassy and Belmarsh, where he has been detained.

“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (Nils Melzer) has warned, he will have effectively been tortured to death,” the letter added.

“Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch. The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

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The first hearing into the United States’ request for Assange’s extradition was held on May 2 2019.

When asked by the judge if he consented to the extradition, Assange said: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people.”

A copy of the Doctors For Assange letter has been sent to the Australian minister for foreign affairs, Marise Payne.
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